Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits
(Fat Wreck Chords)
Punk doesn’t have to be angry to be raucous and the latest from the supergroup the Gimme-Gimmes is sonic proof of this axiom. This is an album that could be classified as “feel good punk.” The frenetic energy will get you motivated and moving and there’s enough of an edge that Me first and the Gimme Gimmes could possibly be substituted for your first cup of coffee of the morning (if played at a suitably high volume, of course). Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, the punk supergroup consisting of members of Lagwagon, Foo Fighters and NOFX
The album consists of a number of unlikely punk renditions. Unlikely at first glance perhaps, that is. The Gimme Gimmes manage to pull off the unlikeliest of meldings (“Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet movie and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” I didn’t see those coming but once they hit me they made perfect sense). And maybe that’s the theme of the album in retrospect. Something about perspective and presentation make all the difference in the world of the Gimme Gimmes, a world that constantly redefines what is and what can be punk as well as what it means to be a “cover group.”
I mean, of course “The Times They Are A Changin'” is a punk anthem. Dylan (folk or electric though he may be at the time) was definitely emblematic of the punk spirit of Americana in general and rock and roll in specific. “Rainbow Connection” through a punk lens is a grimly ironic musing on loneliness. The ballad of the “The Train They Call The City of New Orleans” shouldn’t have been much of a stretch either, considering “Punk” Dylan took more than a page from Guthrie’s book.
There’s a poppy, defiance that’s near irresistibly satisfying in the tracks on Rake It In. This is trans-mutational music, the kind of album you put on to translate a bad mood into the energy necessary for conquering the seemingly insurmountable. Punk can come from the most unassuming of corners and sometimes there’s a heady punk anthem hiding almost anywhere. 17 of the most popular tracks from their 7 album span. Gimmes take on Chuck Berry tune, “Sloop John B,” Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl,” The Eagles’ “Desperado,” and even R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” gets made over beautifully by the Gimme Gimmes.