Earlier in 2011, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes released an EP of cover songs by Australian artists before a tour in the land down under, and then made plans to make EPs in Spanish, German, Italian, and French. Following suit, the band's second 2011 release, Sing in Japanese, is exactly what the title suggests: covers of traditional Japanese songs, with Spike Slawson doing his best to sing in Japanese. Since Slawson was not fluent in the language, bassist Fat Mike called in a friend to write out the lyrics phonetically and after recording the tracks, the band recruited some Japanese tourists to come into the studio and verify that the words sounded intelligible. Most would probably agree that the accent is far from authentic, but it’s a respectable attempt and it sounds like he's having a lot of fun. The original Japanese versions (by Kai Band, Tulip, Takuro Yoshida, the Tigers, Kaze, and the Blue Hearts) span genres (including glam, Beatlesque pop, folk, and ‘60s bubblegum), so it only makes it more impressive that Me First and the Gimme Gimmes effectively transformed the songs to their brand of punk-pop. (The already punky “Linda Linda” by the Blue Hearts was improved with a reggae spin on the verses.) Novelty artists they may be, but these guys are true masters of their craft.
AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover