Me First and The Gimme Gimmes - Have A Ball (Cover Artwork)

Me First and The Gimme Gimmes

Have A Ball (1997)

Fat Wreck Chords

Punk covers have always been a fan favorite since the genre's origin. Listeners have always lent open ears to their favorite bands covering songs that their parents listened to -- not because kids secretly enjoyed their parents music, but because pop music was constructed to much better ability during our parent's childhood years. In all reality, the likelihood of bands from our generation writing songs that were as eagerly catchy as those from the past did is practically null -- occassionally, some pull it off, but most barely come close.

Me First realized this and decided to make a career of adding their own punk-pop spice into already-established pop tunes from different eras of rock history. Have A Ball tackles popular rock songs from the 70's (although one or two songs might be from the early 80's?), ranging from Billy Joel to Kenny Loggins. It's a very enjoyable album from start to finish, and the band easily captures the original heart and soul of all the songs they've decided to cover.

Especially great are the covers from Paul Simon: "Leaving On A Jet Plane" and "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" kick some serious ass. They even managed to make Barry Manilow sound cool -- "Mandy" is one hell of a power ballad. Last but not least, check out "Rocket Man." Great stuff -- this is a good starting point for people unfamiliar with the band, even though Take A Break is just as good. [Just remember not to take this seriously.] Highly recommended.