Shonen Knife : Osaka Ramones

<img src="" alt="Shonen Knife : Osaka Ramones" /><br /> Shonen Knife pay tribute to their idols with the cover album, <i>Osaka Ramones</i>. ...
Shonen Knife : Osaka Ramones
7.5 Good Charamel

Shonen Knife : Osaka Ramones One band doing a ‘tribute’ record, covering another band, is often an unrewarding endeavor.  The original material is strong enough that it needs little new to be done with it, and anything new that is done can be considered ‘heresy’.  And one band covering another band lacks even the variety of a single act’s collection of covers of various artists, or of a compilation of various artists covering/paying tribute to one.  Japanese garage-rockers Shonen Knife (QRO interview) still try to pay tribute to their idols, The Ramones, on Osaka Ramones.

The Ramones’ awesome simplicity, or simple awesomeness, makes them easy to cover, but also makes it hard to do anything new with their songs.  Osaka’s all-female Shonen Knife obviously add a Japanese & female accent to the vocals, which might just be the opposite of Joey Ramone’s voice, and there’s a poppier style more in tune with today’s garage-rock revival than the original’s punk roots (Shonen Knife have been around for three decades – indeed, Osaka Ramones is their thirtieth anniversary special release – so can’t be accused of jumping on the bandwagon; if anything, the rest of the musical world looped back around to them).  "Blitzkrieg Bop" actually bops, and so does "Rock ‘n’ Roll High School" & "Rockaway Beach".  Indeed, "The KKK Took My Baby Away" is given a great girl-group rendition, while closer "Pinhead" is almost a cheerleader rally.  And is "Beat On the Brat" less threatening with cheery Japanese female vocals, or more?  At least "Chinese Rock" isn’t about Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands…

Any collection of covers always leaves some out that should be in, and some in that should be out – "She’s the One" and "Scattergun" are no more memorable now, while Osaka Ramones omits classics "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg", among others.  And the world probably didn’t need a cover collection of Ramones songs – but it’s still a fun listen.

MP3 Stream: "The KKK Took My Baby Away"

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