Crossover Appeal / Record Review No.01

Chipmunk Punk
Label: Excelsior
Released: 1980

For my first record review ever, I chose to review Chipmunk Punk by the Chipmunks. I first started sharing music with my twin daughters a few years ago with the goal in mind that the music I exposed them to would go beyond nursery rhymes and be something that we could all enjoy together. After setting that criteria, my brain immediately went to Chipmunk Punk and I made a point to track down a copy. I am a big fan of punk music and I have seen this album in used bins at record stores my whole life. The search didn’t take long and I soon purchased a used LP at one of my favorite records stores in the USA, Total Drag(SIoux Falls, SD), for $7.99. Money well spent.

While the album title is a little misleading; the music is mostly pop rock and new wave radio hits from the late 70s, it still makes for a fun listen and kids sure love those squeaky Chipmunk voices. This record appealed to me personally because I like the original versions of these songs which are from one of my favorite eras of popular music. My daughters like it because the songs are catchy and they think Chipmunk voices are awesome. Standout tracks include covers of: “Let’s Go” by the Cars, “Refugee” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and “My Sharona” by the Knack. In regard to the “My Sharona” cover, there is something a little creepy and sinister about Alvin signing the lyrics “…give it up, such a dirty mind. I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind” on a record marketed for children. Try not to think about it –  just sit back and enjoy that jumpy bass line.

For super hardcore “punk” parents hoping for Chipmunk punk covers of hits by Discharge, the Exploited, GG Allin, or the Dead Boys, this might not be what you are looking for. For parents looking for some middle-ground with your kid’s questionable musical choices, this is a great album for kids and parents to dance, sing-along, and play air guitar together. Chipmunk Punk is a favorite in our house and frequently requested by the kids. I even recall a recent incident where the 3-year-old twins had a meltdown because I couldn’t play the Chipmunk Punk vinyl record in the car. That took some explaining – though not as much explaining as the time I had to explain how the US Postal Service works and why things don’t instantly arrive/appear in the mailbox when you order them online.

This album is kind of hard to find digitally. I don’t think it ever came out on CD and I couldn’t find it on any music streaming services. You can find the complete album on Youtube, but you should really go out and find the record. It’s everywhere.

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