Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Best Of: 18 Big Ones
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
"Rock and roll's a loser's game," goes a Mott the Hoople line borrowed for an epigram for this best-of. It invokes the story of this New Jersey band on two levels. First, these guys were smart enough to draw on slightly le... more »
"Rock and roll's a loser's game," goes a Mott the Hoople line borrowed for an epigram for this best-of. It invokes the story of this New Jersey band on two levels. First, these guys were smart enough to draw on slightly left-field influences while remaining sufficiently modern to gripe about the FM stranglehold of "Classic Rot." Second, like Mott's Ian Hunter, they bet big and lost big. This collection of semi-hits and obscurities might well have been titled "Work for Food." Singer John Easdale wrote that song for Hi-Fi Sci-Fi, the outfit's 1993 swan song. Imagining himself a few years past his minor stardom, Easdale sang of pushing a shopping cart full of Dramarama memorabilia, aluminum cans, and his baby blanket. The song roared with power chords, bitterness, and resignation, flipping the rock cliché "keep on rollin'" onto its side. Girls who don't count sleeping with the radio on as being alone, non sequitur rhetorical questions, promises of everything, all tied up with bashes and riffs and madly catchy hooks--these are the stuff of Dramarama songs. Typically, 18 Big Ones comes a day late and a dollar short--maybe the same buck Easdale passes to a street-corner denizen in "Last Cigarette." But it also stands as testament to the fact that, whatever else, Dramarama lived up to its end of the bargain. --Rickey Wright
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Great lost works by a great lost band ...
campervan9 | San Diego, California United States | 02/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What is there to say about Dramarama that hasn't been said before? My version of their history might be a tad KROQ-centric, but under the circumstances, that may be justifiable, or at least understandable, judging by the tale they themselves tell in the liner notes. I was in junior high, just getting my first taste of real FM radio after growing up in a house of Neil Diamond and John Denver (and Handel's Messiah at Christmas) when I heard "Anything Anything" blast its way onto Rodney Bingenheimer's show on KROQ (106.7 FM in Los Angeles, for the unenlightened). To say that I was blown away would be an understatement. In fact, I still look back on that song and the Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" as two of the most important songs of the 80s. I would welcome arguments to the contrary, but don't expect to change my mind. A year or so later, I won tickets to see Dramarama play a small concert at UC Irvine -- my second show ever. By the time another year went by, they were gone, lost to wherever such bands go, to be heard only on Richard Blade's flashback lunch hour and in the adolescent humming of those of us who came of age at that time in that place.Flash forward about 10 years, and this wonderful CD finally found a release and, at least in me, a willing audience. After all, "Anything Anything" was, alone, worth buying a CD for, and based on that song, I was willing to give 17 other tracks a listen. Now I'm not going to pretend that Dramarama was the greatest band ever to record a record, or the second coming of The Beatles, or anything like that. But they're a ... good band, and this disc is full of ...good tunes -- slightly angst-ridden alt-guitar rock, lots of it from before there was such a thing. Some of the earlier stuff sounds a little Psychadelic Furs-esque ("Scenario" could've been the B-side to "Pretty in Pink"), later tunes like "Train Going Backwards" wouldn't sound out of place on a Soul Asylum record. But the unifier is a perceptive and identifiable lyrical style, catchy and hummable guitar riffs -- an all around great sound.So give this one a try. You can start with the nostalgia trip of "Anything Anything," but there's a lot more here after that. You won't be sorry."
Dramarama... will rock ever be the same without them?
M. Jensen | St. George, Utah | 03/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have thousands of cd's and records -- literally. During my 20+ years of collecting, I became a club dj to pay for my fix and a college radio dj to exercise my demons. Enter Dramarama... I heard them first while driving through L.A. on vacation in the mid 1980's. KROQ, a station I went out of my way to listen to whenever I was in SoCal, played "Anything Anything." I was an instant fan. Few bands embody rock's rollicking influences of 70's punk, 80's fun and 90's grunge quite like Dramarama. Maybe the Pixies, maybe even REM or newer bands like the Sheila Divine. But really, none of them do. There is only one Dramarama. For the "professional appreciator" in me, Dramarama is the band by which many other bands are measured. Crunchy guitar hooks, smoker's-voice vocals and lyrics that rhyme at all costs, are the signature of Dramarama. No band ever delivered so much with so little recognition."18 big ones" does offer up a great slice of the Dramarama experience. But as an owner of every Dramarama CD, it is unfortunately just that, a slice, when what you really want and crave is to plant your face in the whole damn cake. My bet is that anyone who buys this "best of" cd will be left scraping up the crumbs and looking for more. It's crunchy-good! But so is all of their music.Note: In 1993 I dragged my pregnant wife to a small club in Salt Lake City to pay homage to one of my all time favorite bands. They delivered! After the show I met the band and hung out with them for about an hour or so. I asked lead singer-song writer, John Easdale (who, by the way, was incredibly friendly) if he often wrote nonsensical lyrics just for the sake of rhyming. He answered with a straight face, "No, all my songs have a meaning." Well maybe -- if you're high. Give Dramarama a listen. Trust me, you'll be hooked, and turning your best friends on to this great band."
It's A Crime...
M. Jensen | 04/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...that this band didn't hit the big time. Instead we have to suffer through mindless garbage like the Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees etc., etc. blah blah blah. You know, it's so rare that a band comes along and actually shows not only tremendous musicianship, great melody, but also intelligence, and what happens? Everybody runs out and buys the pop crap that MTV shoves down their throats. It's a crime that this band isn't still around. It's a crime that "Last Cigarette" and "Shadowless Heart" aren't considered hits. It's a crime that no one will read this who isn't already a Dramarama fan. Hey, start a new religion. Go out and convert your family and friends. One listen to this record is all it will take."