Blitzkrieg Over You!: A Tribute To The Ramones
Nasty Vinyl / SPV Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/29/2001
Sometimes, I don't like to talk about what I do for a living... only because the explanations of some of the day's actions might sound like something out of The Twilight Zone. Imagine this:
WIFE: So, what did you listen to today, dear?
HUSBAND: Oh, just a Croatian death metal band covering The Ramones.
WIFE: Was that all?
HUSBAND: Well, there were some German and Spanish renditions as well.
WIFE: You been hitting the cough syrup again?
Does anyone not understand why my wife no longer asks what I'm listening to?
It might sound like I'm being flippant towards Blitzkrieg Over You!: A Tribute To The Ramones, but it actually is a pretty well put together compilation of punk acts from around the world covering the seminal New-Yawk band - with one main exception. We'll talk about that soon enough.
This 26-song disc assumes the listener is well-schooled in all things Ramone, and that they will understand what song is playing even if they don't speak a foreign language. While I don't understand German, I know enough about the Ramones to recognize "Export" (by Hass) to be "California Sun" and "Judy Ist Ein Punk" (by Schliessmuskel) to be "Judy Is A Punk". But I'm not schooled enough in either Ramones or German to recognize every song - but then again, does one really need to in order to enjoy this disc? I think not.
Despite the fact this is a German-released album and most of the bands are unheard of in the States, there will be a few glimmers of recognition. Motorhead and crew check in with "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." (off their 1916 release), and Die Toten Hosen (who had a wonderful album, Learning English Lesson One, out about ten years ago) turn in a killer version of "Blitzkrieg Bop," complete with a guest appearance from one Joey Ramone. And old-school punks will recognize the name of Nina Hagen as she checks in (with Dee Dee Ramone in tow) with "Lass' Mich In Ruhe".
There are even originals on Blitzkrieg Over You! that sound close enough to the original that someone not reading the liner notes might take them to be Ramones tunes. From "Dee Dee Took The Subway" (by Badtown Boys) to "I Wanna See The Ramones" (by Dirty Scums), these tracks capture the power of the Ramones while hanging on to the real bands' identities. It's a difficult trick to pull off, but they do it well.
So what was the mistake I talked about? Actually, we touched on it earlier - the Croatian death metal band, Patareni, covering "Endless Vacation". I have nothing against death metal or grindcore, but putting this on a Ramones tribute album sounds out of place, and it sticks out like a Wall Street Broker at a biker rally.
Still, Blitzkrieg Over You! is an entertaining disc that should please fans of both the Ramones and punk rock in general. Even with the occasional difference in language, this is a disc that proves that music can indeed cross over any barrier.