Album Review: H20 – “Don’t Forget Your Roots”

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“Don’t Forget Your Roots” is one of those CD’s where a band records a bunch of cover songs from bands that influenced them; it’s been done many times with varying results. H20 actually does a better job at this than most bands do. Still, this album is not something that I’d call great. Good, yes, but not great. There are some songs on here that H20 slays (in a good way) but there are just as many where they don’t do the song justice. The easiest way for me to do this review is to break it down song by song and compare the original to the cover. So here we go…

(To read the full interview, click here.)

The first song that they do is “Attitude” by Bad Brains. On this track they do a pretty good job with the song, not as good as the original but very few bands can actually play Bad Brains songs like Bad Brains did.

Next they cover “Satyagraha” by 7 Seconds. I was never big into 7 Seconds so I like this track about as much as I like the original, maybe a little more. This is one of the better songs on this disc.

The third song is a cover of “Pride”, originally by Madball. I’m not a fan of Madball and never have been so the H20 version wins this one for me.

Song four is “Get The Time”, originally by the Descendents. This is the first of several tracks that I think H20 should not have even tried to cover. H20 manage to pull all of the heart out of what originally was a punk rock love song. This cover is bland, emotionless and horrible. One of the worst on this cd.

Next comes “Said Gun” by Embrace. Coming from an Ian MacKaye, I think this is a great cover. One of the best songs on here.

Track six is “I Wanna Live” by The Ramones. H20 do a pretty good job with this one but I don’t like that they changed the lyrics. Changing ” I’m a gypsy prince” to “I’m a drug free prince” was unnecessary. Fine, you’re straight edge, we get it…

Moving on to “Cats and Dogs” by Gorilla Biscuits. H20’s version doesn’t hold a candle to the original. It’s not bad, just lacking something.

Song eight is “Someday I Suppose” from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. H20 should NOT have covered this song. It sounds so flat without the horn section. Not Good!

Now Comes “Journey To The End” by Rancid. I’m impressed with H20’s bass player, it’s not easy to replicate Matt Freeman’s bass playing but he does a good job. Otherwise, this song is pretty well done, It’s another of the good songs.

#10 is  “Safe” by Dag Nasty. I like this one, this is the only cover version that I actually like more than the original, and I like Dag Nasty. H20’s version is just a little bit superior.

Track eleven is “Sick Boy” by Social Distortion. I’m not a fan of this one at all. They changed up some lyrics and do a gang chorus thing with it. The whole thing sounds goofy.

Track twelve is “Friends Like You” by Sick Of It All. This is another cover of a band that I never liked, so it’s a wash. H20’s version might be a bit better but the song sucks so it doesn’t really matter.

Lucky # 13 is in no way lucky for H20. This time they take a shot at “Train In Vain” by The Clash and they ruin it. There’s a bunch of shout along vocals in this cover that have no reason to be there. Yelling “NO” in the background was not necessary in any way!

The Last song is “Don’t Forget The Struggle, Don’t Forget The Streets” by Warzone. I like this one quite a lot but, to be honest, I’ve never heard the original so I have no way to compare them.

So to sum this up, this is a listenable disc, it’s not completely horrendous. H20 do a great job when covering songs from the more hardcore bands but there are several tracks on here that they should have steered clear of. If you are a H20 fan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this but if you’re looking to buy this disc to hear cover versions of songs that you love… Stick to the originals, at least in this case.



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