The Baseballs, a trio of Berliners who perform English-language contemporary pop hits in a rock & roll style reminiscent of the '50s, took a swath of Europe by storm in 2009 with their debut album, Strike!, and its two smash hits, "Umbrella" and "Hot N Cold." The grainy black-and-white promotional videos for these respective cover versions of Rihanna and Katy Perry were part of the group's appeal. They're fun videos in which the bandmembers Sam, Digger, and Basti are dressed up like greasers and perform in a rockabilly manner that drives people wild as if they were Elvis Presley. Elsewhere on Strike!, the trio perform nine similarly styled covers (ten if you count the bonus track), most notably Usher's "Love in This Club," Plain White T's' "Hey There Delilah," Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," Scissor Sisters' "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'," and Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love." Most of the songs are recent hits, though there are some older ones like Jennifer Lopez's "Let's Get Loud" from 1999, and Maroon 5's "This Love" from 2004 (the bonus track is even older, a version of Roxette's "The Look" from 1989). There's no question that the Baseballs are a novelty act, and indeed, the novelty starts to wear thin as the album progresses. All the same, these guys are truly talented. For Europeans, they sing very well in English. There's no German accent at all to be heard. They also come up with some inventive arrangements for their vocal harmonies. Moreover, their rock & roll has plenty of kick. While it's questionable whether or not the Baseballs can make a career out of their shtick, Strike! is surely a lot of fun. It's no wonder the trio was successful in not only the German-language, world but also much of Northern Europe.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2