Smoking Popes - The Party's Over (Cover Artwork)

Smoking Popes

Smoking Popes: The Party's OverThe Party's Over (2003)
Double Zero Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This will seem like a newly unveiled original Smoking Popes album to most of us, but play it for your parents or even grandparents and you may be surprised to find that they recognize the songs. Except for one track, this is all covers, but not what you'd expect. Burt Bacharach, Rodgers and Hart a.
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This will seem like a newly unveiled original Smoking Popes album to most of us, but play it for your parents or even grandparents and you may be surprised to find that they recognize the songs. Except for one track, this is all covers, but not what you'd expect. Burt Bacharach, Rodgers and Hart and The Byrds are some of the artists on this album; maybe you've heard of them, but I bet most of you are like me and can't name a single song they've done. Some are country singers like Willie Nelson, and Judy Garland you may have heard of for her rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," but have probably not heard the track of hers on this disc. None of these artists sound anything like the Smoking Popes, and that's the fun of it.

This album was recorded in 1998, soon before the end of their stay with Capitol, and their run as a band. As the Popes run through their influences for us, we get their take on each song, very much in the "Destination Failure" Popes style. Fans of the band will not be disappointed with this, even if they know few or none of the originals. The disc starts off strong with "Seven Lonely Days" by Patsy Cline, with its on-and-off again music backing the vocals in the choruses, and energetic verses. It shows right away that these musicians influenced this band strongly in the lyric department, for almost all the songs deal with love and loss in a straightforward way that manages to hit the right buttons with listeners, as the Popes did with their own songs.

But they do not feel the need to take every track fast just to show their punk side; "Bewitched" by Rodgers and Hart is a great ballad and still very Popes, as well as is "Stormy Weather" by Harold Arlen. "Zing Went the Strings of my Heart" by Judy Garland is another standout, with a great melody over palm-muted guitars, well placed skips in the music in the choruses, and a sweet guitar solo in the middle. The only track that gets to me is the last one: "Why Me" by Kris Kristofferson, a hymn sounding tune done with acoustic guitar. It is fine that Josh found God and wants to sing about him, but this overly religious track just reminds me of why the band came to an end in the first place. The one original of the Popes on the album is the title track, and as it displays their sound at it's best it still fits right in with the oldies with lyrics like "the piper must be paid."

Josh Caterer's voice goes great with all of these songs, and the Pope's musical style works superbly, staying true to their punk-ish power pop style while showing you that these truly are songs of meaning to them, not just random oldies they picked out. Every Popes fan should own this, the final chapter from one of Chicago's greatest rock bands.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
leecorsoisapenis (January 24, 2015)

Hey Greg!

greg0rb (January 24, 2015)

Hi Jim. :)

JimmyChoo1 (March 25, 2011)

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leecorsoisapenis (February 26, 2011)

Wow, I can't believe this came out 7 years ago. I STILL listen to it all the time. Damn, I actually commented on this review before I had a log-in name. Great job Greg, except for thinking "The Party's Over" was an original, but without the book, how could you have known. I'd never heard (and still think haven't heard) the original.


greg0rb (February 26, 2008)

Hey Anonymous dude 5 years in the past - I couldn't check the liner notes because the now-defunct Double Zero sent me a promo copy without a complete booklet. And I could have sworn it said in the press sheets that the title track was one of their own! I don't know why else I would have put that...the press sheet and internet had to tell me all the original writers because I knew none of these songs at the time... anyway, you'll never read this so who am I talking to?!

Anonymous (April 8, 2003)

The song "The Party's Over" isn't a Popes original by the way (check liner notes for songwriting credits). Who would put ONE original song on a covers album?

Anonymous (March 31, 2003)

Yes, Lifetime would be a good addition to that tour....

and I agree with the comment below...They really do love these songs...

They're not the cliched obvious crap most bands pick....These are obscure but wonderful songs....the Popes never could do any wrong...


Anonymous (March 31, 2003)

I'm gonna have to agree with that live cd comment. Man, that thing is near perfection. I guess its out of print now but Im sure you can still get it.

This cd is great though, covers but not doing covers for novelty, just because I think they honestly like these songs. It comes off that way too, and it pays off. Buy this.

Anonymous (March 29, 2003)


Can we add Lifetime to that reunion tour? I cry a tear for every day Lifetime is not together.


Anonymous (March 29, 2003)

"I saw these guys with Boris The Sprinkler at the Coney Island High a long time ago. Weird Line up. Clown For Progress played that show too. Based on my single exposure. I'll pass."

Seriously? Wow, that's crazy....The smoking popes live cd is probably the best live album ever. The Popes manage to change up every song they play making the live album nothing like a rehash, but instead like totally reworked songs...The version of Pretty Pathetic" on that album is way better then the studio version....

Also, Duvall kicks ass live as well....Those boys in the Popes can certainly play their instruments better then just about every punk band I've ever heard...

I'm crying....I wish the Popes were back together...

As soon as there is a Popes/Jawbreaker reunion tour together I will die happy....


Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

Ill second that album of the year comment. God, this is amazing stuff. Words cant describe it.

... . .. . ..,

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

"Comden, Betty - lyricist, librettist, actress
b. May 3, 1915 (New York City)
Comden and Adolph Green enjoyed the longest writing collaboration in theatrical history, working together successfully through an astounding seven decades. They got their start as writer/performers in 1930's New York cabaret and network radio, teaming with actress Judy Holliday in a comedy act known as "The Revuers." Comden & Green made their Broadway debut in On The Town (1944), for which they wrote the book and lyrics, with music by composer Leonard Bernstein. It included the hit song "New York, New York" ("it's a hell of a town!"), and the soulful "Lonely Town." Comden and Green's witty plots and delicious wordplay led them to the Arthur Freed unit at MGM, where they wrote scripts and lyrics for such classic films as Singin' In The Rain (1952) and The Bandwagon (1953). They returned to New York to collaborate with Bernstein on Wonderful Town (1953), winning their first joint Tony for Best Book of a Musical.

Eventually, Comden and Green created the lyrics and/or libretti for more than a dozen Broadway musicals. They teamed with composer Jule Styne to add key songs to Mary Martin's memorable Peter Pan (1954), including "Never Never Land" and the hilarious "Captain Hook's Waltz." With Styne, they created Bells Are Ringing (1956) for old friend Judy Holliday, giving her the touching "The Party's Over" and the catchy hit "Just in Time." The same trio wrote the modestly successful Do Re Mi (1960), which included the lush "Make Someone Happy." In the 1960's and 70's, Comden and Green toured in several versions of their delightful two-person show. They won Tonys for the book and lyrics of Jule Styne's Hallelujah Baby (1969), the only time Best Musical went to a show that had already closed. Comden and Green received another joint Tony with the libretto for Applause (1970) . Teamed with composer Cy Coleman, they provided Tony-winning book and lyrics for On the Twentieth Century (1978), and Will Rogers Follies (1991) brought the three of them a Tony for Best Score. Comden and Green remained active collaborators, writing together almost daily until Green's death in 2002."

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

I saw these guys with Boris The Sprinkler at the Coney Island High a long time ago. Weird Line up. Clown For Progress played that show too. Based on my single exposure. I'll pass.

greg0rb (March 28, 2003)

What you talkin' bout, Willis? St Louis what what?

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

meet me in st. louis kicks ass.


travis (March 28, 2003)

beautiful, beautiful cd. I literally just played it on my radio show... 2 minutes ago.

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

Best album of the year....

who knew a band could take someones songs and make them sound absolutly nothing like the originals...

*sigh* I wish the popes were still together...


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