Review Summary: The Ramones return from the dead with the help of some fun and crafty covers and they want your children, just like the first time around. And chances are they will get them with this solid collection of tunes.
OMG teh Kidz Bop has ruined teh Romones OMG. "The Blitzkrieg Kidz Bop", and Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee are rolling in their collective graves. Well, not exactly.
While this fairly ordinary but entertaining collection of Ramones standards may be a take on that useless series of poorly done pop and rock covers for little tikes, "Brats On The Beat: Ramones For Kids" on the other hand is pretty much just that. And the artists chosen to give the Ramones their due for your local rock n roll nine and ten year olds does a pretty good job of getting little Billy and Bobbie started off on the wrong foot in life.
Gathering not your usual collection of Kidz Bop studio "singers" for this affair, instead what we get for this CD is a multitude of real life punks and rock n roll outcasts to pay homage to a band they would be right at home sharing a stage with, whilst little voices just waiting to be corrupted join in jubilantly. Pennywise's Jim Linberg gets things started with a snotty version of "Blitzkrieg Bop" while the rant of "hey ho, lets go" shouted by Jim and a horde of mini brats comes off not as a joke as you might expect, but pretty much straight faced. Just straight faced with ten year olds up your arse. Likewise "Rock n Roll High School" with the Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba leading the way in the playground is a leather jacketed kick in the nuts, and you can almost see the little hooligans tearing up the classroom as they run around shouting "fun fuuuun, fun fun". And it is fun. A lot of fun. Which was something the Ramones always were, so good thing in making this compilation that wasn't forgotten.
We also get Jack Grisham of T.S.O.L infamy doing a sinister take on "Bop 'Til You Drop" where you hardly notice the small voices around him, "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do" sung by Emily Wynne-Hughes of Go Betty Go, and a riotous and funny "Suzy Is A Headbanger" which finds Nick Oliven of Mondo Generator/Queens Of The Stone Age fame taking a whole chorus of little maniacs through the paces. What makes this all so entertaining is rather then a mockery or embarrassment as one might expect the performances and sound bear little difference from the originals, as the music is provided by Ramones "tribute band" the Gabba Gabba Heys and production is handled by Jennifer Finch of The Shocker and formerly of L7 notoriety. In fact if Joey were out front singing and someone told you it was the Ramones themselves updating some tunes you would easily believe them. If anything these covers sound so authentic (if not exactly) if it weren't for the shouts from the little ones you would say its a tribute that hits too close to home, making it almost redundant. But alas it must be remembered this album is meant to connect little kids to rock n roll directly without any watered down BS in between. After all rock n roll is kid music, basically, so why change it as Kidz Bop would? This album has the spirit needed to introduce them right and raw.
Fun is what this record is even for a jaded music lover such as myself. By the time i reached the third track of "California Sun" with Brett Anderson of The Donnas punking it up good I was bopping around my living room just like I did the first time I heard the Ramones. The fact the Ramones at their best always had a care free and childlike quality in there music also helps matters as the "surf meets pop meets punk" qualities come shining through on many of these tunes and are made that much more silly and fun by the screaming little future Ramones and Ramonette's ranting throughout. So if you are young parents, have a little brother or sister, cousin or nephew, or know a neighbor kid you would like to start on the road to ruin good and early, by all means pick this album up. It has all the fun and spirit of youth packed tightly into one well done package and you may even find yourself listening a time or two, grinning from ear to ear all the while. Just like some other now gone and legendary band used to make us do. You remember? Yeah, those guys. And its good to see others remember, too. So if not for yourself, for gods sake do it for the children. For they are the future..... with ripped jeans, leather jackets, and possible heroin addiction to consider. Gabba Gabba Hey, indeed......