CBGBs Forever

The New York City club CBGBs may be the founding location of punk rock music in the United States, giving many bands a place to play their music loud and fast for the first time. The tribute album CBGBs Forever reflects the energy and the diversity inspired by this landmark club.

The collection of music on this tribute album is quite varied chronologically, with older bands such as Blondie, Talking Heads, the Ramones and the Damned represented alongside contemporary acts like Green Day, Velvet Revolver and Good Charlotte. And while the songs belong to the punk movement, there's quite a bit of diversity here: There's anger in songs like "Favorite Son" and "Cochise," political commentary in "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down" and even romance and teen lust in "Mountain" and "Hanging on the Telephone." Considering how serious U2 seems to take themselves these days, it's fun to hear them cover the Ramones' "Beat On The Brat."

Alas, the title and purpose of this album are ironic: CBGBs Forever was created to raise money for the legal battle to keep the club open, yet CBGBs lost that fight and closed down. But the music here demonstrates what an impact CBGBs had on the music scene. The final song on the album is "Sonic Reducer" by the Dead Boys, a song containing the raw anger and ambition of the punk music scene. It's a perfect end to the album, and a great reminder of what CBGBs was to so many.

Overall Grade: A-

Reviewed by James Lynch

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