For those of you who have been living under a punk rock (get it? punk ROCK? Ahhh, bite me!) for the past 7 or 8 years, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is a superstar punk rock group that consists of members (both past and present) of other bands that include Lagwagon, NOFX, RKL, Swingin Utters and even The Foo Fighters. They are what I like to think of as the pioneers of the punk rock cover song. They did it before New Found Glory and even though there may have been other bands to cover a song before them and convert it to a punk rock anthem, no band has ever, and I mean ever, done it as well.
Take a Break is the bands 4th full length release which account for only a fraction of the musical releases with about 15 releases in all (the rest being 7"s and ep's) and have covered musicians such as Billy Joel, Elton John and hell, even Andrew Lloyd Webber. This time the Gimmes decide to tackle their favorite R&B hits and really doesn't disappoint.
I have to admit, when I first heard this, I was pretty disappointed in it. As a friend of mine had put it, "It sounds as if they just phoned it in". I kind of took that from my initial screening of it also. It sounded as if they just went through the motions with this record whereas their former releases seemed to exude in passion and fun. As I listened to it more often however, it really grew on me quite a bit and now I can't stop listening to it.
Opening the cd is an awesome version of Whitney Houston's "Where do Broken Hearts Go?" (minus the crack, the weed of course Bobby Brown) which seriously rocks the joint and flows incredibly well right into Lionel Ritchie's "Hello". From there, the band covers probably the worst R&B hit from the early 1990's in Boyz II Mens' "End of the Road" and actually make it enjoyable to listen to by truly making it their own and adding their own brand of humor to the track.
After we make our way through the Boyz II Men cover, we go right into an amazing version of Bill Withers' classic "Ain't No Sunshine" which has my vote for probably the best song on this album. Sinead O'Connor's early 90's ballad "Nothing Compares to You" comes next and let me just tell you that I was a fan of that song when it came out and this just fucking improved on that by 100 times. Dayam!
A few times throughout the album, the Gimme's throw in a tribute here and there for good measure and with track #6, they start the song by fitting in Black Flag's "Six Pack" as the intro which melts directly into Seal's "Crazy".
The Gimmes are pretty much essential party music. So, the next time you are at your Daddy's Country Club gala, pop this puppy into the juke, set it to loop, crank the volume and pull a Jeremy Pivens in PCU and lock the doors and watch the hilarity ensue. No really, fucking do this!
Joseph f. Kuzemka is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.