Monday, October 29, 2012

We're A Happy Family - A Tribute To Ramones

I've mentioned before how much I love a good tribute album, and by good I mean faithful, yet diverse. I don't want to hear an album full of exact knock offs, nor do I want to hear an album full of songs that I should know, and don't recognize.

When I found We're a Happy Family, which I had seen was coming out before I bought it, I was instantly intrigued because I love many of the bands on the album. Some make sense, like The Offspring and Green Day, but others are a bit more surprising and add extra flair, like Marilyn Manson and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

In fact RHCP open up the album with Havana Affair, which is a good track, and they do it very well, but it's a song I just don't care for. That being said, if you are a fan of the Chili Peppers, you should like this song. If you like the original cover, you should also like this song. If you are like me you'll just want to skip to the next song.

This album was produced for release by Johnny Ramone and Rob Zombie. So, it's no surprise that Rob got to pick the most popular Ramones song, Blitzkrieg Bop, to cover as his own. Let me start with Rob's cover is fucking balls out amazing. I love the fuck out of it. I love it more than the original. It's like Zombie took the original and added some real insane guitar work to it. It's what the Ramones may have done, if they had wanted to get all fancy, instead of just being a bunch of punks.

Eddie Vedder is a real Ramones fan, and his cover of I Believe In Miracles is top notch. It's done with Zeke, which I know nothing about, and have no interest in looking up. They get the song done right, and that's good enough for me.

When I heard Metallica was going to be on this album I was totally psyched. I was expecting some big, bad ass, heavier than hell, monster of a cover. Instead what we get is a very authentic cover. The sound is very similar to what the Ramones actually sound like, and the over all quality just has that perfect punk tone. This one almost sounds like it could have been on the Garage Day Revisted E.P.

I didn't know how I was going to feel about U2 covering Beat On The Brat, but it's not bad. It sounds like what you'd expect U2 to sound like doing such a cover.

I've never been a fan of the song Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio. It's okay, but not my thing. The Kiss version kind of makes me want to punch Gene and Paul in the face. I can totally picture Gene trying to act all punk in that dorky way of his, while Paul tries to make the song way too flashy. This is the worst song on this tribute as far as I'm concerned.

Of all the bands on this album the only one I was panicked about was Marilyn Manson. He's been known to get some covers spot on, and totally fucking up others. The KKK Took My Baby Away is not a fuck up, but it's not a win either. I love the song as it's own song, and I think Manson should have tried to adopt it as his own that way. Like he did with other covers. However, I like the original much better, and this one doesn't give it the same justice I think. Andria, I know disagrees, and really likes this song.

I am not a fan of the band Garbage, but I respect the hell out of them. I really enjoy Shirley Manson's singing style, especially when she's doing her soft crooning thing. That being said, i love the way she rocks out on I Just Wanna Have Something To Do. Garbage does a great job covering this one and it totally captures the vibe of the original.

Green Day performs Outsider. It sounds like a Green Day song, and I was never big on the original, so I just skip this one.

The Pretenders offer up a slightly slower version of Something To Believe In. I think this is very well done in it's different approach. It's also the only song on this album to go over 4 minutes. The only other song that gets close to this in time is Manson's track.

Rancid sounds like Rancid on their cover of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker. This is probably the most Punk cover on this album dedicated to Punk rockers.

Pete Yorn sounds almost exactly like the original on I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend. I was a bit let down by the version of I Wanna Be Sedated on this album. It was covered by The Offspring, and they do a good job, but it sounds way too much like the original. I mean so much so that it could be mistaken by someone that doesn't really know better. I really would have liked to have heard this one jacked up by Rob Zombie or Metallica. Just for that wicked cool heaviness.

I don't know who Rooney is, and after the cover of Here Today, Gone Tomorrow I'm not interested in finding out either. It's a really well done cover, but they are not my type of band, at least going on how this sounds.

I'm a bit impressed by the Tom Waits cover of Return Of Jackie & Judy. It's more underground sounding than anything the Ramones ever released, and captures everything that Punk started as.

The bonus track on this version of the CD is pretty damn good too. It's Eddie Vedder and Zeke again and this time they do Daytime Dilemma (Dangers Of Love). It's a really good way to finish off the album, and I can't stress enough how much I have to respect Eddie's vocals on both covers. It's a bit refined sounding, but good all the same.

I know it sounds like I've ragged on this album a lot, and that I must not like it much, but that's not true. I really love this collection, and after owning it for almost a full decade at this point it still gets regular play in my CD player.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

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