Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Foxboro Hot Tubs -- Stop Drop And Roll!!!

Foxboro Hot Tubs -- Stop Drop And Roll!!! (Jingle Town)

How does Green Day follow up American Idiot, the album that cemented its status as true artists, and not just pop-punk hitmakers? If you have any idea, tell it to Billie Joe, Mike and Tre, since they decided to punt rather than come out with another ‘statement’ record.

The Hot Tubs are to Green Day what the Dukes Of Stratosphear are to XTC (and I hope this comes up as an SAT answer someday). You remember "Warning", the Green Day song that was a craven re-write of The Kinks’ "Picture Book"? The boys apply that approach to all twelve tracks on this breezy platter, having a blast while challenging fans to play spot the influence. Or rather their older fans, as the younger, less historically inclined can simply sit back and enjoy these small slices of British Invasion and Nuggets inspired pop-rock. And perhaps, if the younger fans aren't careful, they just might learn something.

As to be expected, The Kinks loom large as an inspiration. "Red Tide" is a finger snapping ditty in the vein of "Tired Of Waiting For You". Billie Joe Armstrong shows off the higher end of his range, and some other ‘60s melodic ideas that I can’t quite identify (which pisses me off, I should know these) crop up on a song that exudes coolness. The band later reworks the basic riff that fueled "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night" on "Alligator". This isn’t as deft as "Red Tide", but it’s really hard to do anything but let the riff rock for itself.

The band delves into classic territory on "She’s Saint Not a Celebrity", retooling The Who’s famed live arrangement of Eddie Cochran’s "Summertime Blues". Once you get past the monster riff, the band really puts its own spin on the tune, adding a Ramones-ish "gimme gimme gimme" at the end.

The next track for revamping is The Monkees’ "(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone", which gets the Hot Tubs treatment on "Sally", complete with cheesy organ. The verses are hand clappin’, leading into the accelerated break down. The only thing that would make this track better is if Mickey Dolenz made a guest appearance.

This isn’t all rock and roll. Motown gets its props on the bouncy "Mother Mary", with the millionth use of the "You Can’t Hurry Love" bassline. And Neil Diamond’s "Solitary Man" is evoked on the dramatic ballad "Dark Side of Night".

This album doesn’t quite climb the heights of the Dukes Of Stratosphear, because Green Day doesn’t add a wacky lyrical element to give this project a bit more of a distinctive stamp. But these guys didn’t treat this like a joke. This whole album stands as a passionate tribute to the best music of the ‘60s from one of the top rock acts of the past 10 years. If you love rock and roll too, you very well might have much fun listening to this album as Green Day had making it.

1 comment:

Slack-a-gogo said...

I really enjoyed the songs on the EP, and it sounds like this is continuing down that road. I like the fact that it actually sounds like their having fun.

I'm hoping the next Green Day album doesn't try to one-up America Idiot. But since they're lightening up on this project, I fear the next Green Day record is going be a drag. I really hope I'm wrong.