Sometimes I crave a piece of store-bought cake. Chocolate with vanilla frosting, preferably a corner piece with flowers on it because I like to eat those extra sugary blobs first. It's not "good," I know, but fuck if it doesn't give me the necessary sugar rush and, on some days, taste better than any fancy, over-thought dessert.
That's how I feel about punk veterans Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Sure it's a cheap gimmick—punk rock versions of popular non-punk rock songs—but it comes together in such a delightful, perfectly executed way that once you let go of trying to maintain some kind of illusion of being too good for it, it can be better than anything else in that moment.
On their new record, Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! they tackle, obviously, hits from divas. Gloria Gaynor, Paula Abdul, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Madonna, and more. And while I already had a place in my heart for songs like "Straight Up," "Karma Chameleon," and "Believe," they're also able to turn terrible songs into sing-alongs. I can't fucking stand "My Heart Will Go On" (I spent a summer working at a daycare where the preschool teacher listened to the Titanic soundtrack EVERY SINGLE DAY during nap time), but when Me First and the Gimme Gimmes play it, with a slight Irish punk vibe and handclaps, it becomes a song I want to sing along to while jumping around the room and slapping my hands together until they burn. I love it! It's a whole new song!
Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! isn't perfect. I do wish they chose Beyonce's "Speechless" over Lady Gaga's, and while their version of "Top of the World" is completely enjoyable, a) Were the Carpenters divas? and b) Shonen Knife already did that song better than anyone else could 20 years ago. But whatever. I've already gone on too long about something that needs no explanation/thought beyond hit play and dance. So here we go! Hit play, dance (and go grab yourself a piece of cheap, delicious cake—it's a good day to indulge in the simple things):