Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies - Rake It In:  The Greatestest Hits (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies

Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits (2017)

Fat Wreck

I’ve never been a big fan of greatest hits collections. They’ve always seemed tedious to me at the best of times, and designed for people who don’t care enough about music to listen to the original albums. But in 2017, I really fail to see the point of them because anyone can buy individual songs one at a time, and putting together your own playlist of your favorite songs from a particular artist is so easy a Trump supporter could do it. And how do you decide what the “hits” of an underground supergroup cover band like Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies are anyway for their new collection Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits? They haven’t had anything that would be a “hit” by the standard music industry definition. So, just a collection of their best songs then? Well, it can’t be that, either, because their cover of “Rocket Man” is nowhere to be found. And that’s the problem: every song that Me First does is a cover of a classic hit that did very well on its own, so everybody has their own list of the best songs that they’ve done.

Usually, to try to compensate for the utter pointlessness of greatest hits albums, the band will try to record one new song or find an old rarity to put on the record. For Rake It In, Me First did dig out four songs previously only available on 7-inch vinyl, some of which are out-of-print and hard to find. This four songs now available on CD and digital download for the first time their covers of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’”, Willie Nelson’s “City of New Orleans,” Kenny Rogers’s “Lady,” and Del Shannon’s “Hats Off to Larry.” These are the most worthwhile songs on the album, and had this whole thing been a collection of rarities and songs previously only available on vinyl, like Have Another Ball, I’d think there was a point to doing this album.

But that leaves 13 other tracks that are readily available on their six studio LPs. Listening to it from beginning to end, it’s not so much that there are any songs where I think they did a bad cover, there are just plenty of songs where I never cared about or even knew about the original, so I don’t particularly care about their cover. This included songs like “Country Roads,” “Jolene,” “Desperado.” Wow, I guess I just don’t like country. But there are some real winners here. I forgot how great their cover of “Summertime” really is. “All My Loving,” “Sloop John B,” and “Uptown Girl” are probably the highlights of the album, but again, I could listen to them before Rake It In came out, even without a record player. “The Times They Are A-Changin’” is definitely my favorite of the songs previously available only on vinyl, but that might be because I’m a big Bob Dylan fan.

After listening to Rake It In all the way through a few times for the sake of the review, I got tired of listening to this particular collection of Me First songs, and I put together my own playlist of my favorite Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies songs using my Apple Music account. It only took about 10-15 minutes to put it together, and would have taken less time if my phone wasn’t such an old, outdated hunk of junk. While I was doing that, I found that Apple Music had their own “Essentials” playlist of Me First songs, and wouldn’t you know, it only has three songs in common with Rake It In, and oh, look, it has “Rocket Man” in it. It just goes to show, nobody’s going to agree on this band’s best songs, and a personally made playlist makes the greatest hits album obsolete.

I think my favorite part of this album is the album cover, because at least the band has a sense of humor about the bad idea that this is. If you look at the cover, you’ll see the band are all holding rakes trying to “rake up” the money, and you may notice that all the money is in the form of $1 bills, so it doesn’t actually add up to all that much money. That’s the perfect image for this album: an attempt to rake in the measly amount of money that will come from the tiny number of people who will be interested in this release.