What reviewers are saying about the debut release from Osaka Popstar:
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“The existence of the Osaka Popstar debut is further proof that God loves The Ramones…”
“The existence of the Osaka Popstar debut is further proof that God loves The Ramones. The album is a phenomenal ode to power pop and deeply infectious pop punk. Inspired heavily by Japanese Animation (check out the album art work and the two music videos on the DVD that's packaged with the album). This album should be standard issue for every punk popper wannabe even dreaming about starting a band.”
- AMP (American Music Press-monthly, national punk and indie magazine)
“…like a major motion picture release. The billing is high profile for audiophiles and the results are pop punk purity….”
“John Cafiero has assembled some of the best names of the underworld into a pop-punk super group entitled Osaka Popstar. If I told you, you probably wouldn’t believe it but anyway here it goes, Jerry Only (Misfits), Dez Cadena (Black Flag), Ivan Julian (The Voidoids) and Marky Ramone. Best roster I’ve heard about in a while, but all these alpha males- are they capable of sharing control?
You’re gonna get the great American punk action here. A recoiling surplus of energy. Marky Ramone is at his best with Osaka. Effortless and rolling in perfect aggression. All the players get a piece of the spotlight. The spacing allows for luscious solos and bass peaks.
Tones are bright and poppy as they should be. Cafiero’s vocals are warm and chorus rich. His tone is not those so closely associated with his band mates, more of a pop hesitant bright pitch ala Bob Mould. The collection is like a major motion picture release. The billing is high profile for audiophiles and the results are pop punk purity.”
- Thomas Martin, EnigmaOnline.com
“The verses are catchier than many a groups choruses, and the choruses are like three-chord crack….”
“You should be warned: the songs on this album – which is essentially an all-star super-jam starring gnarled veterans of the US punk scene – could hardly be any more infectious had they been sneezed into your face by a swivel eyed chicken. People flap about bird flu but Osaka Popstar harbour something far more infectious….the songs are superb. The verses are catchier than many a groups choruses, and the choruses are like three-chord crack. And similarly irresistible.”
Ian Winwood, Classic Rock Magazine
“…an excellent voice to lead the next generation of post-Ramones music...”
“There is life after Ramones!
Although many bands have attempted to carry on The Ramones legacy, they have mostly tried to "improve" upon what has come before by making it harder, faster or louder. What so many seem to miss, is that The Ramones sound was as much pop as punk. For every "I Don't Want To Go Down To The Basement" and "I Don't Care" in the Ramones songbook there is a "Rockaway Beach" and a "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker."
Sure, you can exaggerate The Ramones sound to make it hardcore, or you can go in the other direction. Sort of a Dee Dee approach vs. a Joey approach, if you will. Osaka Popstar takes those pop elements of The Ramones and brings them to the forefront. And the result makes me grin a mile wide.
I like all the tracks but it was "Man of Constant Sorrow" that really knocked me out - I had to play it five times in a row after I heard it.
It should be pointed out that all of the members have a punk pedigree. And although his name may not be immediately familiar, John Cafiero was behind the Ramones Raw DVD a little while back. He's the biggest surprise on this CD because his vocals are really outstanding. He's punk without being desperate or mean, an excellent voice to lead the next generation of post-Ramones music.
I'm a huge fan of this band.”
- David Burd, The Uncle Floyd Show
“This is what a true punk rock band is supposed to sound like…”
“The kids of today's "punk rock" scene need to stop whatever it is that they are doing and pop the new album from Osaka Popstar into their CD players and sit back and listen. This is what a true punk rock band is supposed to sound like. Oldies influenced, pop rock music, with enough of an edge to make it a punk rock record. No screaming and shouting, but simple, smooth vocals and excellent backups that will get stuck in your head and never find their escape. It's a really good thing when music like this comes out. This is a wonderful album and how can you go wrong when there is a cover of The Kids of Widney High's "Insects." “
- JK, All Ages Zine .com
"Osaka Popstar is solid, upbeat and infectious, with more hooks than an all-day fishing trip and an image cool enough to chill your beer."
- Tom Farrell, Entertainment Editor, HUSTLER MAGAZINE
“This is full on no frills punk rock…”
“This is full on no frills punk rock, no more than three chords per song and a relentless rhythm section powers through four to the floor beats perfectly. There is a twist…the result is pure fun.”
5 stars (out of 5)
- Jonathan Falcone, Big Cheese Magazine (UK)
“The whole record is an adolescent fantasy world, trapped between Saturday morning cartoons and the ultimate doom that is adulthood…”
“Osaka Popstar is the creation of John Cafiero and his brain fried by the sounds of punk rock and the images of Japanese cartoons. The mood is light and fun, but Cafiero enlists some heavy players to round out his album of songs about ninja monkeys and Cap'n Crunch.
The Ramone's Marky Ramone, the Misfits' Jerry Only, the Voidoids' Ivan Julian and Black Flag's Dez Cadena support Cafiero's vision by having a good time and delivering some loose, high-octane pop/punk rock. It looks as through as much work went in to the anime-themed booklet art as the music, making the whole package a kitschy delight.
The quick blasts of album opener "Wicked World", "Astro Boy", and "Sailor Moon" keep the album upbeat and lyrically ridiculous. While the overplayed bluegrass anthem "Man of Constant Sorrow: gets a fresh and glossy punk makeover. Rarely would a loud, summertime record include a Christmas song but here it makes perfect sense. Cafiero includes one of his favorites, "The Christmas That Almost Wasn't".
Two Richard Hell covers are highlights late into the album and include "Love Comes in Spurts" and "Blank Generation". The prerequisite teenage angst is most evident in the ode to breakfast cereal, "Where's the Cap'n?" The whole record is an adolescent fantasy world, trapped between Saturday morning cartoons and the ultimate doom that is adulthood.
Serious punk fans may balk at the apparent gloss of Osaka Popstar, but they would be missing out on one loud, fun and fantastically silly album. Did I mention it rocks too?”
- Zane Ewton, Rocknworld.com
“Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk takes early punk sounds and give them slick, modern production. The result is nothing less than spectacular…”
“Misfits Records treats us to a real punk supergroup in Osaka Popstar. Led by frontman John Cafiero, Osaka Popstar includes performances by Misfits bassist Jerry Only, Ramones drummer Marky Ramone, Black Flag guitarist Dez Cadena and Voidoids guitarist Ivan Julian. What is the cumulative effect of these legendary talents? One of the best punk albums of the past five years.
What does Osaka Popstar sound like? Kind of like "Project 1950" era Misfits, but with more of a punk edge. This makes sense, as Only, Cadena and Ramone were the Misfits lineup for that particular album, and Cafiero served as producer. In fact, John Cafiero provided vocals for the song "NY Ranger" in 1998 (the track can be found on the Misfits' "Cuts From the Crypt" album).
Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk takes early punk sounds and give them slick, modern production. The result is nothing less than spectacular.
A lot of the songs on this album are covers. This is in no way negative. Osaka Popstar takes these songs and makes them their own. "Man of Constant Sorrow" from the Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack goes from folk to rock, sounding better for the change. A rocking version of the Sailor Moon theme song is also a highlight of this album. Two Richard Hell and the Voidoids covers are an interesting addition for a number of reasons. Not only are the tracks "Blank Generation" and "Love Comes In Spurts" performed flawlessly (although Cafiero doesn't mimic Hell's yells of "Oh no, it hurts!" during the chorus) but Ivan Julian and Marky Ramone (then credited as Marc Bell) both performed on the Voidoids versions of these songs in 1977.
Several excellent original songs make Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk more than just a novelty item. "Insects" is a creepy punk song in the vein of the Misfits. "Shaolin Monkeys" and "Where's the Cap'n" are fun punk numbers that show a great sense of humor. New songs or covers, each song on this album is a gem. From the superb opener "Wicked World" through the close, this is one of the most fun albums I have heard. Marky Ramone shows he has some impressive skills, and Jerry Only plays some quirky basslines, both musicians putting forth some of their most impressive performances to date.
Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk is a solid album from start to finish. It's easy to cringe when the word "supergroup" comes into play, but these songs are so good I forgot who I was listening to and found myself singing along, a rabid fan by the second track.
I hope to hear more from John Cafiero, who has created the perfect monster in Osaka Popstar. “
Key Tracks: "Wicked World", "Love Comes In Spurts", "Monsters"
- Jim McDonald, 1340mag.com
“John Cafiero - rounds out the sound with a beautiful and haunting voice. His vocals really add a modern touch to the music so deeply rooted in the classic punk style. Osaka Popstar’s album is a must buy for anyone.”
“We have all done it. Sitting in a high school classroom, bored out of your brains, creating the ultimate punk band. While your 80 year old teacher hammers away at antiquated subjects, you plot out the members of what may become the greatest punk band alive. Of course, the field may vary but Osaka Popstar’s lineup could definitely rank up towards the top.
John Cafiero (long-time collaborator for the Misfits) started the wheels in motion to formulate this power-packed lineup. He carefully recruited the members
and rounds out the sound with a beautiful and haunting voice. His vocals really add a modern touch to the music so deeply rooted in the classic punk style.
Marky Ramone (The Ramones) pounds furiously on the drums and really shows the intricacies and precision that exist in his playing. His performance on the record accentuates his mastery with magnificent fills.
Jerry Only (Misfits) provides the fierceness with his aggressive bass playing. His work coincides wonderfully with Ramone’s drumming style and the result is a thundering rhythm section.
Dez Cadena (Black Flag) is one of my heroes. His skills on the guitar truly were a resounding effect on my youth. His performance with Osaka Popstar does not disappoint. His guitar howls through verses and choruses like a whirling maelstrom.
Ivan Julian (Richard Hell & The Voidoids) seems a perfect compliment to Cadena’s playing. It is surprising with so many legends of punk that the album’s cohesiveness is dead on. No one attempts to outshine the other. Rather, they work as one unit and create a wonderful sound.
Osaka Popstar’s album is a must buy for anyone. For old-timers like me, it is a flashback into our youth and the power of what punk has done for our lives. For youngsters, it is a modern twist created by legends who prove that they are still able to create relevant music today.
A fun album with great history and wonderful songs.
Key Tracks: “Wicked World” “Shaolin Monkeys”
Rating: 5 (1- Lowest, 5 - Highest)
Sounds Like: Misfits, Ramones, 7 Seconds
Suggested Listening: Misfits, Ramones, Black Flag, Richard Hell & The Voidoids”
- Shaun Millard, PenCapChew Zine (PenCapChewZine.com)
“One of The Best CDs Ever!”
“I’m here with my review for one of the greatest CDs ever. It's called Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk. This punk rock super band is made up of punk heavy hitters who know how to make a great album. Punk producer John Cafiero fronts the band on lead vocals with Jerry Only from The Misfits on bass, Dez Cadena from Black Flag and Ivan Julian from Richard Hell and the Voidoids on guitar and Marky Ramone from The Ramones on drums.
Not only is this a tight lineup but the fun part is that they also combine a love of anime and cartoons into their punk sound. And what a sound they make. A little under thirty minutes of fast, fun, bouncy punk rock with original songs and covers galore. The album starts with the catchy Wicked World and doesn't stop there. They blow through songs with topics like bugaphobia (Insects), kung fu fighting monkeys (Shaolin Monkeys), fear of monsters in closets (Monsters) and even a song about missing Cap'n Crunch (Where Is The Cap'n?). But why stop there? They also have covers of punk classics by Richard Hell (Love Comes In Spurts & Blank Generation) and X-Ray Spex (I Live Off You). Plus they have punk covers of the themes for Astro Boy, Sailor Moon, a song from "O, Brother Where Art Thou?" called Man of Constant Sorrow and the theme to a Christmas movie called The Christmas That Almost Wasn't. Odd choices for songs I know but fun and cool nonetheless. The lyric booklet is also filled with awesome drawings by great comic and anime artists. Plus you get a bonus DVD with the music videos for Wicked World and Insects and an Osaka Popstar Wacky Packages sticker. Overall this is a nice CD and is worth every penny. If you don't have it yet, get it NOW!
Overall Score: 10/10”
- GunGregg89, 1UP.com
"Osaka Popstar is a celebration of punk rock and pop culture that is impossible not to like…”
“The dream of longtime Misfits collaborator John Cafiero, "Osaka Popstar" is a celebration of punk rock and pop culture that is impossible not to like. Joining Cafiero are guitarists Dez Cadena (Black Flag) and Ivan Julian (The Voidoids and Matthew Sweet), bassist Jerry Only (Misfits) and drummer Marky Ramone (The Ramones). The band speeds through a series of pop-punk tunes, tackling topics such as Japanese animation, Captain Crunch cereal, giant insects, '70s television specials and fear of monsters, as well as heavier topics, such as exploitation, ambivalence and cultural degradation. There is a tip of the hat to underground singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, who contributes background vocals on an inspired, rocking version of the traditional "Man of Constant Sorrow," and not one but two Voidoid covers ("Blank Generation" and "Love Comes in Spurts").
It's hard to tell who is having more fun here, Cafiero or the band, which plays with an inspired looseness.”
- Courier Press
“Well done and a fresh outlook on punk rock...”
and the American Legends Of Punk
Featuring John Cafiero (Osaka Popstar) with Jerry Only (Misfits), Dez Cadena (Black Flag), Ivan Julian (The Voidoids) and Marky Ramone (The Ramones).
13 track CD with 2 track DVD companion.
This is a fun CD, DVD. This guy makes punk fun. With great vocals that are so pop friendly and easily to decipher the words he is singing, this CD has intrigued me, and I find myself wanting to find out more about Osaka Popstar. I am already familiar with the heavy weights that back the band in some true American Punk Rockers. …well done and a fresh outlook on punk rock.
“The album is a juiced-up colorful comic book in which Cafiero sings with such vibrancy you could almost see the colors pop…”
“Looking for some good ol’ Saturday morning cartoon punk? Osaka Popstar is the moniker used by cartoonist, film-maker and music producer John Cafiero and he has assembled some of his friends to back him who are American Legends of Punk. The album is a juiced-up colorful comic book in which Cafiero sings with such vibrancy you could almost see the colors pop. There are no egos popping from these legendary cartoon punk characters. This is clearly an album made for fun and delivers a romping good time.”
- Candied Pop.com
“…would be right at home on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim…”
“Osaka Popstar is better than it has any right to be considering its bold subtitle - And the American Legends of Punk. This is due mostly to the fact that Osaka Popstar absolutely does not take itself seriously (subtitle not withstanding). With songs devoted to popular anime, “Astro Boy” and “Sailor Moon”, and even a cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow” (yeah, that’s right), this album keeps things silly most of the time, silly but never dull. All but the last three songs are covers, including the ‘fore mentioned theme for “Sailor Moon” (yes!) which would be right at home on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Also included is a DVD containing videos for “Wicked World” (directed by cult animator Mari-Chan) and “Insects”, not to mention a nifty manga inspired booklet.”
- AP, Exoduster.com
“It’s good old-fashioned punk: pop-flavored, American made, and as fun to listen to as it likely was to record…”
OSAKA POPSTAR AND THE AMERICAN LEGENDS OF PUNK
“And now, as they say, for something completely different.
Almost an understatement, this band’s name. It’s made up of punk veterans from the Ramones, Misfits, and Black Flag, which is awesomely cool in itself, but then it goes and makes crazy anime-flavored music, which amps the coolness up about twenty notches. I mean, I don’t watch Sailor Moon, so her punk theme song is kind of lost on me, but I am helpless before the power of a song called “Shaolin Monkeys.” That’s right, you heard me. Because any song about monkeys is an instant winner.
But Osaka Popstar isn’t just a novelty act. When listening to “Insects,” please note the skittering strings that start it out and the Black Sabbath-esque creepiness in the lyrics. And when they cover “Man of Constant Sorrow,” note the fantastic harmonies and the way they modernize this country classic, making it stand up and mosh. It’s good old-fashioned punk: pop-flavored, American made, and as fun to listen to as it likely was to record.”
- BonTon, sweetdarkness.net
“Simple in nature and long lasting in the overall appeal…a welcome contribution from some truly legendary Punk luminaries…”
“As soon as you put on the CD by Osaka Popstar & The American Legends Of Punk you are taken to a fun-filled ride into the Power Punk world. The group is made up of John Cafiero (vocals), Jerry Only (bass), Dez Cadena (guitar) and Marky Ramone (drums) and given their rosters background includes The Misfits, The Ramones and Black Flag the expected result is a roller coaster that everyone is going to want to jump on for a few spins. Ivan Julian also appears on a few of the tracks. Cafiero has been a long time contributor to the Misfits music and along with the group delivers some great covers, as well as do justice to his original material. Some of the more notable covers being “Wicked World” and “Blank Generation”, the latter being made popular originally by Richard Hell. Other songs like “Astro Boy” and “Sailor Moon” make you feel like you are jumping into a Saturday morning cartoon, and the booklet enclosed surely adds to that feeling with its amazing illustrations. It was a truly fun listen and is quite catchy if you come to think of it – you only need one listen to find yourself humming a lot of what is happening on the album and that is never a bad thing for a bands work. The CD comes with a bonus DVD that features two videos (“Wicked World” and “Insects”) and the “Insects” video will seem familiar to listeners who might remember those weird creatures in the Quiznos commercials. It’s the same form of animation and comes from the same design team. This is a recommended release if you are a fan of quirky tunes with an overall catchy base to them. Simple in nature and long lasting in the overall appeal, it was a welcome contribution from some truly legendary Punk luminaries.”
- Ken Pierce, PiercingMetal.com
“The legends are in fine form, and Cafiero on vocals sounds both like the coach whose encouraged the band to put everything into the song…”
“In 1995, Bulletproof Entertainment released the compilation, Saturday Morning: Cartoon’s Greatest Hits, featuring an excellent line up of rock bands laying into cartoon theme songs and music. The Ramones gave a darkly fast version of “Spider Man” making Spidey cool long before Tobey Maguire ever donned the tights.
Now Osaka Popstar (a.k.a. Misfits collaborator John Cafiero) has recruited Marky Ramone, Jerry Only (Misfits), Dez Cadena (Black Flag), and Ivan Julian (Voidoids) as the ‘American Legends of Punk’ to lend that same cartoonish cool to 13 tracks of lively punk. The legends are in fine form, and Cafiero on vocals sounds both like the coach whose encouraged the band to put everything into the song while also sounding like a true fan excited with the prospect of fronting such a stellar group of musicians.
The anime video of “Wicked World” (on the accompanying DVD) shows that while the song repeats its chorus of ‘We’re marching to hell’, the song is actually conscious of how vacant our wicked pursuits are. This song doesn’t celebrate evil as much as it shows that we’re in great need of good.
Overall, then, the album is actually quite positive. You see Jerry Only’s scary mug, and you might think that the band is going to be some dangerous death celebration. Yet, there’s songs about eating Cap’n Crunch, being scared of monsters in the closet, and a hero named Astro Boy. It’s truly an extension of Saturday Morning.
The DVD, which also includes an anime video of “Insects” adds to the comic book quality of the whole project. The CD booklet artwork comes from a variety of artists, giving Osaka Popstar a comic book hero personality. Its the kind of alternate universe that invites you into the culture and world of a band making the experience like getting lost in a comic book story.”
- Benjamin C. Squires, Music Spectrum.org
“All in all the album pleases completely. With every listen, it remains in your ear more and more…”
“John Cafiero (producer of the Misfits disc Project 1950) brings a new project: Osaka Popstar. What I found genuinely cool, are the topics in the songs. As the Misfits have topics of horror, Osaka Popstar has themes in Anime.
Pleasing above all are the vocals of John Cafiero, who sings very good and clear. The singing in individual parts is peppered with beautiful Backing harmonies. The drums and bass sound true to the Misfits style, if also not completely so darkly as usual. Dez Cadena impressed me this time heavily because the guitar sounds completely beautiful. The album is all in all very clean and tightly produced… 13 Songs in 27.6 minutes of the best punk on average.
The 4th song is a surprising cover of the Blue Grass hit from the movie “Oh brother Where art Thou “, “Man of Constant Sorrow”. It is a very beautiful punk version, which in my opinion succeeded better than the covers on “Project 1950” and likewise better than most cover songs by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
All in all the album pleases completely. With every listen, it remains in your ear more and more. It’s playful and the style as a whole is somewhat merrier than the well-known Misfits albums. Fans of the Misfits will enjoy this CD. Therefore it should not be missing from the shelf of such a fan.”
splashmusik.de (translated to English from German)
“should be the next purchase for anyone that is into pop-punk music…”
“…the style of music that Osaka Popstar plays is something that pretty much converges on the all-out blasts of music put forth by acts like The Misfits and The Ramones. The production of the CD far outstrips anything that the previous bands the “American Legends of Punk” were in.
…“The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t” is a bouncy track that has a catchy chorus that will get individuals focused in on the band; even though it is a cover (The song was released in 1966), Osaka Popstar make the track their own. While there is a constant style present throughout the entirety of the disc, Osaka Popstar are not adverse to adding little nuanced sounds to their overall style.
The band may largely be a cover act on this self-titled album, but the few tracks created specifically for this album show that Osaka Popstar is not only a cover act. The disc goes by quickly, but can anyone honestly expect that a band that is composed of the masters of three-chord rock would not do just that?
…Osaka Popstar should be the next purchase for anyone that is into pop-punk music… Always bouncy and without any regrets at the end of the disc, Osaka Popstar set themselves up for cutting a few more discs in the same vein. Essentially, the band has written their own ticket by the end of the disc, and keep the memory of the acts sacrosanct.
Pick the disc up now!
Top Tracks: Monsters, Where’s The Cap’n”
- JMcQ, Netfur.com
“A total supergroup of punk rock icons including Marky Ramone (Ramones), Jerry Only (Misfits), Dez Cadena (Black Flag), Ivan Julian (The Voidoids) and fronted/masterminded by John Cafiero (Misfits collaborator). They produce polished pop-punk backed with high ambitions (like an animated series).”
“This disc is a must for any fan of legendary punk rockers still tearing shit up!...“
“Complete with power chords, sing-a-longs and even caricatures of each member as anime superheroes, Osaka Popstar is filled with quick and to the point (as good as it gets) punk….addictive…This disc is a must for any fan of legendary punk rockers still tearing shit up! “
“This is the kinda record that makes me wanna reach for that repeat button over and over again…”
“The 50’s project the Misfits did a couple of years ago had John Cafiero as the producer…well Mr. Cafiero was asked to do the vox in this little project that could result in a major thing here….
All Ramones/Misfits fans should order this pronto!! 13 songs of pure fun, simple, 3-chord melodic punk rock in the best tradition. ‘Wicked world’, ‘Astro boy’, ‘insects’, it all sounds so recognizable and enjoyable… This is the kinda record that makes me wanna reach for that repeat button over and over again. A ‘summer’ record in every way. Buy this and I’ll guarantee you, you’ll love this, one of the best records I've heard this year!!!”
- David Bostijn, Punkx.nl
“The production is excellent, powerful, but leaving freshness in the place of urgency…”
“There are few groups of legend still in activity and even less in punk, this style wanting to be transitory by definition. Then when the members of legendary punk groups meet, one can speak about historical event. Indeed, Osaka Popstar counts in its rows… This new project is a vibrating homage to punk melody Made In the USA. One feels obvious affiliation with the Ramones. Pop and punk once more make an improbable union, but carried out with wonder by masters of the kind. The production is excellent, powerful, but leaving freshness in the place of urgency.
This new collaboration is strongly inspired and this album is a delicious fruit…a good stylistic lesson to us all, in simplicity.”
- Zicline.com (translated to English from French)
“This album is a necessity for all Punk lovers around the world…”
“Welcome back to the age of, you guessed it, REBELLION! A true Rebel Punk! This absolutely amazing punk rock band is made up of John Cafiero (Osaka Popstar) Jerry Only (Misfits), Dez Cadena (Black Flag), Ivan Julian (The Voidoids), and Marky Ramone (The Ramones) and guest appearances by Indie music icon, Daniel Johnston. When I first picked up the CD to simply look at the very entertaining album art, I was already impressed just to see that the band was made up of Punk Legends. “How Exciting!” I think to myself. “They must play perfectly for this album then!” And they pretty much did. I was very impressed after listening to it the first time.
The CD also includes a special DVD with two animated music videos. First one is for the song “Wicked World.” Which straight out encourages rebellion, and even says they’re going to hell for it. The second video is for the song “Insects” which is simply insane. The song was written by Michael Monagan and the kids of Widney High. I school written song!! How fucking insane is that? The song starts out with an insect sound made by a guitar, so I was impressed right there. The rest of the song simply informs what the insects are going to do to us.
… OUTSTANDING entertainment in each song.
This album is a necessity for all Punk lovers around the world.”
“…an astonishing album full of passion, guts and musical integrity.”
- Atomic Duster
“Seemingly out of nowhere, Osaka Popstar have perfected a near-miraculous combination of fun and catharsis that leaves you breathless, exhausted, and completely satisfied...”
“Fans of original punk rock rejoice! Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk might be the best ‘punk’ labeled product to appear in ages. Their pedigree is infallible, featuring ex-Ramones (Marky), ex-Black Flag (Dez Cadena), ex Misfits (Jerry Only) and ex-Voidoids (Ivan Julian). They are indeed legends, but more than anything else, Osaka Popstar is a high concept project that bashes through generational barriers. They combine roots-punk style music a la the Buzzcocks, The Undertones, the Ramones, and the Misfits, and then incorporate this into Japanese Saturday morning cartoon imagery. It’s sort of like the Archies on steroids, or the Fountains of Wayne on amphetamines. Pop it on and it is easy to imagine that it’s 1978 all over again. I dare you not to smile when listening to this CD. The disk opens with an absolutely perfect pop song written by ‘outsider music’ legend Daniel Johnston, called “Wicked World.” John Cafiero merrily sings “We have sinned so many times before we see no reason to turn back now, cuz we’re the world, the wicked world, marching to hell. We know what we’re doing and we’re marching to hell,” while a wickedly joyous guitar riff rips its way through the rollicking rhythm. The energy never lets up, either. This isn’t your teenager’s second-generation variation on punk; it’s the real thing. Marky Ramone is on drums and he plays with an energy that is…superhuman! The rest of the band is just as remarkable, playing with an abandon that betrays the sheer joy of playing together.
Partially due to the cartoon imagery, and partially due to the infectious nature of the band’s performance, “Osaka Popstar” makes punk rock sound like pure fun. They cover two old Richard Hell songs (“Blank Generation” and “Love Comes in Spurts”) and make them sound brand new. Do you remember the hullabaloo that was raised by the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack a few years ago? Remember the key track from that collection called “Man of Constant Sorrow?” I’ll bet you never imagined that it would make a great punk tune. Osaka Popstar imagined it, and then they achieve it. Best of all is a track that was written by a bunch of school kids, called “Insects,” which is destined to be one of the best summer songs of all time. While the band plows along at 100 MPH, Cafiero sings about the perils presented by the insect world (“Bees will try to sting you hard, all over, your body. Bugs are in the trees and they’re watching you”). This track is so good that it makes bug-phobia fun.
A DVD containing two videos (“Wicked World” and a hysterically funny “Insects”) accompanies the CD, and I’d suggest watching the videos ASAP, since it will help to convey the playful, artistic vibe that defines Osaka Popstar. In typical punk-rock fashion, the disk contains thirteen tracks that plow by in less than thirty minutes, but it is all meat and no filler. It ends too soon, but that’s okay, because it means that you have enough time to play the entire disk again! After all these years, it is a pleasure and a surprise to hear a band that can stay true to their punk-rock roots and enjoy every second of it. Seemingly out of nowhere, Osaka Popstar have perfected a near-miraculous combination of fun and catharsis that leaves you breathless, exhausted, and completely satisfied.”
-Tom Ryan, American Hit Network
“…the band’s debut is an infectious set, and dare I say – sweet as a rock-hard stick of Topps trading card gum.”
“If comic books had a sound, it would be Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk. The band are exactly what a punk rock super group should be: fun as hell. And considering the group is the brainchild of John Cafiero, longtime fan of the world’s most fun punk band The Ramones, it’s not surprising that the band’s debut is so darn enjoyable. Joining Cafiero on the band’s debut are Jerry Only (Misfits), Dez Cadena (Black Flag), Ivan Julian (The Voidoids) and Marky Ramone (The Ramones, The Voidoids).
Musically, Osaka Popstar are a throwback to the old school bands the members cut their teeth in, though overall the sound is more pop than punk. The band also put a twist on the formula Me First and the Gimme Gimmes pioneered nearly a decade ago: cover songs performed by a punk rock super group. Only rather than choosing songs outside of their native genre, OP focuses on a slate of songs near and dear to their collective heart: classic punk and cartoons.
The album’s leadoff track is “Wicked World,” an infectious three-chord number that originally appeared on one of Daniel Johnston’s self-released cassettes, and Johnston himself guests on the band’s version of the traditional “Man of Constant Sorrow.”
Elsewhere on the album the band cover classics by Richard Hell (“Love Comes in Spurts,” “Blank Generation”) and X-Ray Spex (“I Live Off You”), but the band is at their best when cruising through the nostalgic sound of their youth, either via cartoon theme songs (“Astro Boy,” “Sailor Moon”) or jingles for breakfast cereal (“Where’s the Cap’n?”).
Sticking with the beloved memories of Cafiero’s youth, the band hired Topps bubblegum card artist John Pound to create the album’s artwork. Pound worked on the ’80s card phenomenon known as Wacky Packs, and several years later created a phenomenon of his own, Garbage Pail Kids. And much like the recent visuals of the Gorillaz, each of the album’s members are depicted as anime superheros.
Osaka Popstar create the perfect package. It has a clear sound and a clear vision, and its members don’t aspire for it to be anything other than a seriously fun side project. Many bands try extraordinarily hard to achieve this kind of levity in their music, but it simply comes naturally to the members of Osaka Popstar. Because of this, the band’s debut is an infectious set, and dare I say – sweet as a rock-hard stick of Topps trading card gum.”
(4 out of 5 stars)
“can easily be compared to a day at the amusement park…”
“Punk music in a cartoon. The Popstar-project from the Ramones’ fan and filmmaker John Cafiero can easily be compared to a day at the amusement park. Whilst listening you delve from one adventure into another. Then you are battling against evil (Sailor Moon) to eventually confront the annoying Mr Prune who is doing all he can to make Father Christmas’ life a hell (The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t). After going through all that you have to search for the insect spray to get rid of them (Insects). OP offers you 13 songs in 27 minutes from top artists; a passionate Cafiero on vocals, Jerry Only, Dez Cadena, Marky Ramone, Ivan Julian and Daniel Johnston. The artwork is excellent the bonus clips are in good taste and the catchy tunes…. won't be forgotten for a long time.”
- Bram van Schaik, UP Magazine #30
(Translated from Dutch to English by Sarah O’Brien)
“…it’s a thrill to listen to this album. Real old-school, feel-good Punk. No fillers, all killers!”
“John Cafiero, the creative force behind Osaka Popstar and this Pop Punk album, has worked for a long time with Punk legends The Misfits as producer ... he produced their highest charting album ever: Project 1950. Cafiero grew up in the New York Punk scene with bands like The Ramones. On Osaka Popstar's debut album, he is backed up with the American Legends Of Punk, featuring Jerry Only (Misfits), Dez Cadena (Black Flag), Ivan Julian (The Voidoids), and Marky Ramone (The Ramones). With a line-up like that, you’re bound to do something right!
According to Osaka Popstar’s press release, “Punk is alive and well,” and indeed it is. With all the New School and Melodic Punk around today, it’s a thrill to listen to this album. Real old-school, feel-good Punk. This album is dedicated to Cafiero’s love for Japanese anime and toys, Punk and Pop culture, and the 1970s New York Punk bands ... and finally his love for The Ramones.
The album kicks off with the amusingly “Wicked World,” a classic Punk Rocker with “I don’t care about anything” lyrics. Next out is “Astro Boy,” a song about a superhero with the ability to fly, who is amazingly strong. The song is short, catchy, and very funny. Continuing the tribute to Japanese anime, “Sailor Moon” is a song about Sailor Moon, a 14-year old junior high school girl who receives a special quest from a talking cat, her Sailor Scout. Again a very amusing catchy tune and funny lyrics!
"Man Of Constant Sorrow," is a Punk remake of the song from the O’ Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack. “Does that work?” you may be asking yourself. The song has never sounded better, and with guest vocals from music icon Daniel Johnston, it’s one of the many highlights on this album. “Insects,” the fifth tune out, has got a classic Ramones feel to it with a great riff and sing-a-long lyrics. The best thing about this song is the lyrics, apparently they were written by The Kids Of Widney High, Class of ‘89. The Kids Of Widney High are a group of students from Widney High School, a Special Education High School in Los Angeles, who write and perform original songs. The group started in 1988 as a songwriting class, but changed as the students came and went from Widney. “Bugs are in the trees and they're watching you, you better watch out or the insects will get you.” Got to love it.
Another song that stands out on this album is “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t.” The song is actually the opening title track from an obscure Christmas movie of the same name, released in 1966. Two Richard Hell songs are also featured here: “Love Comes In Spurts” and “Blank Generation,” with Ivan Julian handling bass and guitar, and Marky Ramone trashing the drums -- you almost got The Voidoids featured. These are the darkest songs on the album, but still with catchy vocals and the best guitar solos. “Blank Generation” also sounds a bit like the Arctic Monkeys. The three last songs, “Monsters," "Where’s The Cap’n?” and “Shaolin Monkeys” are new material written by John Cafiero ... his writing is very entertaining and funny. Any song about your breakfast cereal has got to be funny ... and it is!
Listening to Osaka Popstar And The American Legends Of Punk, you'll find that the entire album just makes you feel good. No fillers, all killers! 13 songs, 28 minutes of great Punk! Also, it's not only a CD, but also a bonus DVD containing the extremely funny videos for “Wicked World” and “Insects” as well.”
- Frode Kilvik, Metal Express Radio
“a truly delicious project that proves punk is about spirit and delivery…”
“Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk is a truly delicious project that proves punk is about spirit and delivery, not about content. The songs on this record revolve around Sailor Moon, Astro Boy, the threat of giant insects, a fear of monsters in the closet, and the tragedy of being out of Cap'n Crunch. … but even the few tracks that don't directly reference kitschy ideas are still delivered with the same fun, rollicking exuberance. All 13 tunes are just as fast and tight as anything off of Leave Home or Walk Among Us, but what's truly remarkable is how the veterans attack the material. Enjoyment of anime and sugary breakfast cereals is not mandatory for relishing this album, but it doesn't hurt.”
- Cammila Albertson, All Music Guide
"It came out great.... "It's interesting music, very well produced, and it's very pop. It's great. I love it. I love that album."
- Marky Ramone (The Ramones)
“Everything punk rock you’ll ever need is on this disc.”
- Pulse Weekly
"Thirty years of punk rock history layered with Japanese anime frosted with the mainstreaming of outsider music = the headbanging genius of Osaka Popstar. No one else should follow this formula because it can't be done better, or louder, or with more panache."
- Irwin Chusid (WFMU DJ; author, Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music)