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Meet the Smithereens! (Beatles Tribute Album)

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Album Review

Normally the only thing worse than a tribute album is a tribute to an album. And no one—no one—can improve on a Beatles LP. But this veteran New Jersey trio amazingly pull off this cockamamie idea. The group are clearly worshipping disciples (as we all should be) of the Liverpool legends’ blockbuster breakthrough, Meet the Beatles, Capitol’s January 20, 1964, U.S. version of EMI U.K.’s With the Beatles (with two singles added and five of its six covers subtracted—all five of them later rushed out as part of Capitol’s subsequent Beatlemania cash-in Second Album). But rather than insipidly recreate a wild rock ’n’ roll masterpiece or irreverently recast it as something it isn’t, they crash into a perfect middle ground: They reframe it as if it were recorded by The Raspberries, Big Star, Todd Rundgren, Flamin’ Groovies, or myriad other meaty, American power-popsters who updated a thorough Beatles blueprint in the 1970s. George Harrison’s “Don’t Bother Me” and John Lennon’s underappreciated classic “Not a Second Time” sound particularly fresh and poignant in this context. And much as he did when he sang The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” a while back, Pat Dinizio is too smart to oversell the vocals or get carried away by their iconic ubiquity. And his guitars twist the chords into a stinging sharpness. Totally enjoyable and genuinely worthwhile!


Formed: 1980 in Carteret, NJ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Dressed in leather, brandishing heavy guitars, and exhibiting an unabashed fetish for British Invasion pop, the Smithereens were an anomaly in the American college rock scene of the late '80s. Lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Pat DiNizio stood out not only with his strange beatnik goatee, but also because his catchy hooks were haunting, not punchy, and because his lyrics were morose. As time wore on, the group became more straightforward, turning into an excellent bar band, one that attacked pop...
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Top Albums and Songs by The Smithereens

Meet the Smithereens! (Beatles Tribute Album), The Smithereens
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