The maestros of musical mimicry, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are back again with a new album, “Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!” For those not familiar with the punk rock supergroup, every album is thematic. This album has the boys covering songs performed by various divas throughout the decades and is filled to the brim with guilty pleasures from the pop world. If it’s one thing this reviewer is a sucker for (besides a good horn section), it’s good punk rock covers, but how well will they translate from the pop world? Let’s find out.
They kick off “Diva” with a punked up “I Will Survive” (Gloria Gaynor). Spike Slawson’s vocals are on point, and Chris Shiflett and Joey Cape’s guitar play is great. Chris’ guitar intro and Dave Raun’s accompanying drums on “Straight Up” (Paula Abdul) crank the tempo up for this once mid-tempo pop song. Their take on Cher’s “Believe” isn’t much of a stretch from the original, but Spike’s auto-tuned vocals will induce immediate chuckles. Other great tracks on “Diva” come from Donna Summer, Lady Gaga, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, and Culture Club, to name a few.
The one standout song might be the cover of “My Heart Will Go On.” The gang took this track in a different direction by giving it an acoustic, Celtic, folksy sound. Whatever one’s opinion of the song, their rendition will make you appreciate it in a new light or love it more.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes never mock any of the songs they decide to cover. They pay each song respect while putting their signature twist on them. There are so many great songs – not just covers – on “Diva.” If their “punkification” of these tracks tells us anything, it’s how long-lasting the originals were, in whatever capacity.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes ‘Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!’ Rating: W W W W W