Osaka Popstar

Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk

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Any serious punk fan would probably appreciate an answer to the following question: what would you get if the Ramones' Marky Ramone, former Misfit Jerry Only, the Voidoids' Ivan Julian, Black Flagger Dez Cadena, and longtime Misfits collaborator John Cafiero all got together and recorded an album in 2006? The answer is simple: an anime-themed punk concept album, complete with a DVD of animated music videos, a Topps collectable sticker card, and proof of purchase good for a Misfits LP. If this sounds silly, shticky, and over the top, that's because it is. Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk is a truly delicious project that proves punk is about spirit and delivery, not about content. The songs on this record revolve around Sailor Moon, Astro Boy, the threat of giant insects, a fear of monsters in the closet, and the tragedy of being out of Cap'n Crunch. There's also "Wicked World" -- a song by cult hero Daniel Johnston, who also sings backup on a rowdy version of the bluegrass traditional "Man of Constant Sorrow" -- but even the few tracks that don't directly reference kitschy ideas are still delivered with the same fun, rollicking exuberance. All 13 tunes are just as fast and tight as anything off of Leave Home or Walk Among Us, but what's truly remarkable is how the veterans attack the material. Each song is executed with the ease of lifelong musicianship, but the characteristic punk messiness is still there; it just emerges as an organic element of the way these guys play, rather than as a consequence of inexperience or inebriation. Enjoyment of anime and sugary breakfast cereals is not mandatory for relishing this album, but it doesn't hurt. In fact, punk fans and Otakus may find a common ground in Osaka Popstar that they never noticed before: a mutual appreciation for all things flashy, loud, and sometimes confusing.

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