We've all been to parties where there's always one guy. One drunk asshole to pooch the proceedings. Either he's slobbering all over you, back slaps and all regaling everyone with tales of how much he loves you, or giving you the drunken skunk-eye from across the room quietly seething and simmering in his jack n' coke with hatred for you over some imagined offense. Then there's the miscellaneous buffoon, the self described "life" of the party looking to spread/force obnoxious cheer and good will with the same tired jokes and "witticisms" that tend to bore the listener shitless.
This latter, is what Me First And The Gimme Gimmes have become. I say "have become" because there once was a time (arguably) when their takes on songs past were at times funny, at times cool, at times even charming. The final nail in the coffin was 2001's Blow in the Wind. A tired Warped Tour-punk rehash of early 60's numbers that all sounded the same with what little life was in them to begin with sucked out, with only the shriveled remnants left to "entertain" the masses. This is the band's fourth release since that nail and let me tell you this dead horse has been beaten, flogged, hung, drawn, quartered, raped, and burned. These songs are the ashes.
Well, if you want to get technical, Have Another Ball is more a companion piece to the group's first full-length album, Have A Ball which was (according to the press release) supposed to be a double album. I don't buy it. If it looks like leftovers and smells like leftovers, it's probably leftovers. I say this because these are covers of essentially all the same artists as on the 1997 release. As if at the time, they decided to record two Billy Joel tunes, two Simon and Garfunkel tunes etc. and just went with the recordings thought to be the best ones at the time. That makes this an album full of cover songs initially not deemed worthy of release, and it shows.
Look, I could be wrong. Maybe I'm just cynical. Maybe this album is exactly as it purports to be. Maybe the loud Hawaiian shirts and loafers are meant to be ironic. Maybe it's all in good fun and I should just lighten up. But it seems to me that this album is a perfect distillation of the Fat Wreck label. That is to say, boring, unoriginal and everything just sounds the same. Harsh, yes. Unfair, maybe. True? Have you ever been to a Warped Tour?