MOM Music For Our Mother Ocean
No Alternative, Sweet Relief and Home Alive: The road to alternative compilations is paved with good intentions.
It's been a standard practice for years -- a bunch of artists come together to record a compilation album to benefit some organization. What most lack, though, is a cohesive theme.
Enter Music For Our Mother Ocean, a compilation benefiting the Surfrider Foundation and, ultimately, our oceans and beaches. Where most compilations coast through with throw-away B-sides by well-known artists, MOM hangs ten with a collection of surf-influenced covers and originals.
If you like punk-tinged surf music, you'll probably like the album. But if you're looking for standard fare from the artists therein, you might be very surprised. For instance, Pearl Jam rips up "Gremmie Out Of Control," a cover of some lost surf-garage single from the '60s. With its rapid surf guitar licks and low-fidelity recording quality, the song sounds nothing like what one usually expects from alterna-rock's reigning band.
The Ramones turn in a cover of "California Sun" that's more true to the band's place in punk's old school, while Pennywise secures its place with a cover of "Surfin' U.S.A." that's hyper-fast and overdriven.
But the most successful songs are the originals. Soundgarden's "My Wave," off the group's 1994 album Superunknown, takes '50s surf and mixes it with the band's metallic crunch to create a more successful homage to the genre. Everclear does much the same with the hardcore-ish "Hateful."
Only a few times on the album does the pace slow. But when it does, the results are pleasant. On the acoustic and slow-moving "Bali Eyes," Porno For Pyros conveys images of Tiki gods and a cool breeze blowing over a tropical beach. Jewel trades in her usual down-to-earth lyrics for a tale of a man and woman who talk to wolves and listen to how the sky sings in the gentle "Quiet Warrior."
The Beastie Boys turn in the album's most interesting track: over a lounge-jazz shuffle beat, the Boys sing in their best Frankie Valli soprano on "Netty's Girl."
Overall, MOM isn't a great collection of tracks like No Alternative or Sweet Relief. Some of the songs are interesting stretches by alternative bands, although wading through all 23 songs probably isn't worth the effort.
2. Good Times - Sprung Monkey
3. Gremmie Out of Control - Pearl Jam
4. Honky Tonk - Brian Setzer Orchestra
5. California Sun - The Ramones
6. Bali Eyes - Porno for Pyros, Porno for Pyros
7. Surfin' U.S.A. - Pennywise
8. Surfin' Bird - Silverchair
9. Wipe Out - Donavon Frankenreiter, Gary Hoey
10. Never Give Up - Common
11. I Can't Surf - Reverend Horton Heat
12. Mama Nature - Pato Banton
13. Mr. Know It All - Primus
14. Sailin' On - No Doubt
15. Army of Me - Helmet
16. My Wave - Soundgarden
17. Quiet Warrior - Jewel
18. Hateful - Everclear
19. Blackwing - Seven Mary Three
20. Netty's Girl - Beastie Boys
21. Badfish - Sublime
22. Waggy - blink-182
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