Hey guys! It’s BossaNova here. This week we’re going to look at the Sing in Japanese EP from one of my personal favorite bands, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes. It’s an album of 20-40 year old Japanese Top 40 hits given a punk rock treatment and delivered with love and care as a gift to an American band’s Japanese fans; what’s not to love?
Well, I guess if punk’s not your thing, you’re probably not going to like this. Me First & the Gimme Gimmes just have the genre in their blood. It’s a cover band, and also modern punk rock super group, if that means anything to you. It’s made up of Fat Mike. the bassist/singer of NOFX and owner of infamous indie punk record label Fat Wreck Chords (pronounced Fat Records); Chris Shiflett, formerly of No Use For a Name and one of many guitarists of the Foo Fighters; Spike Slawson, the singer of the Swingin’ Utters and RE-Volt; and Joey Cape and Dave Raun, guitarist and drummer from Lagwagon, respectively). This is an all-star cast for the genre.
These guys are the biggest that you can get and still be considered the real deal. They are in this band for the love of the music, and are always toeing the line between poking fun at the music they play and paying genuine tribute. This album is no different, and was made out of love for their Japanese audience, but is but one part in a larger series of “World EPs” that the band have planned. They are nothing if not ambitious.
With an emphasis on authenticity, Fat Mike used his label’s connections to find, translate, and work out the phonetics of these 6 songs for their fans. Spike Slawson toiled over his vocal tracks for hours on end, listening to each song line-by-line until the non-Japanese speaker got what he considered high praise from some Japanese friends, who gave a nod and said that it was “intelligible.”
Hero is the only song to survive past the recording studio and seep into their live show, at least until Slawson gets more comfortable with Japanese, but the crowds are happy to have that.
Honestly, this isn’t going to be a mind-blowing album, and it’s not going to really sway you into liking punk if you don’t already. It’s just a collection of Japanese Golden Oldies covers done simple, fast, and energetic. But, for what it is, it’s a solidly put together work, and, if you’re going to like it, you do already. For me, it’s an easy choice to add to my music collection. Catchy songs, passionate and energetic delivery, awesome guys; this EP will be played in my car for years to come. I give it a 7/10, hardly High Art but fun enough to buy and come back to.
I’ll be back in another two weeks (for real this time!) with another album review, just wait and see! In the meantime, what did you think of this EP? Did Fat Mike changing Linda Linda to Rinda Rinda at the end of the whole thing put you off or make you laugh? Think you could mosh to this? Have you ever heard of these songs before these SoCal punks decided to mess them up? Lemme know in the comments below! This is BossaNova, saying peace out!