Chipmunk Punk

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Chipmunk Punk
Studio album by The Chipmunks
Released June 15, 1980 (1980-06-15)
Recorded September 1979–April 1980
Genre Rock, new wave, novelty
Length 29:27
Label Mercury Records (UK) Excelsior Records (later Intersound International) (US)
Producer Steve Vining
The Chipmunks chronology
The Chipmunks Go to the Movies
(1969)
Chipmunk Punk
(1980)
Urban Chipmunk
(1981)

Chipmunk Punk is a new wave music album by the Chipmunks, as well as being the first album released by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., after he took over the voices of the Chipmunks after the death of his father in 1972. Despite the title of the album, none of the songs listed are considered to be in the style of real punk rock music. It was released on June 15, 1980 (see 1980 in music). The album peaked at #34 on the Billboard 200. It was certified gold by the RIAA on October 14, 1980, becoming the Chipmunks' first gold record. In 2005, it was re-released on CD, although the CD was only available through the official Chipmunks website.

History[edit]

The inspiration for the album came when KMET DJ Chuck Taylor played the 12" version of the Blondie song "Call Me" at double speed and announced, in jest, that it was the Chipmunks' latest single. So many requests came for this "new" Chipmunks release, that Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and his collaborator Steve Vining rushed to record this album.

Chipmunk Punk essentially marked the rebirth of the Chipmunk franchise. It was the first new Chipmunk release since 1969's The Chipmunks Go To The Movies. Chipmunk creator/producer Ross Bagdasarian Sr., who also provided the voices for the characters, died of a heart attack in 1972, bringing all Chipmunk activity to an abrupt halt.

Though this release followed a long dormancy record-wise, the characters had returned to public view via Saturday morning repeats of the cartoon series The Alvin Show on NBC in 1979. The album sparked a second run of the characters and led to another Saturday morning cartoon series, Alvin and the Chipmunks, which began in 1983 and also aired on NBC.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

Upon this release, the album met mixed critical reviews. Allmusic gives it three out of five stars, calling it "good clean fun" which "If nothing else...provides a portrait of a prime period in radio," but Rolling Stone roundly panned it, describing the album as a symptom of corporate greed in the world of television animation.

Most reviews of Chipmunk Punk comment on or criticize the track listing as featuring comparatively little punk rock in favor of more commercial pop rock and new wave music of the era.[citation needed] In 1994, comedy punk band The Radioactive Chicken Heads recorded a cover of Suicidal Tendencies '​ "Institutionalized" in the style of Alvin and the Chipmunks specifically due to lead singer Carrot Topp's dissatisfaction with the song choices on Chipmunk Punk.

Track listing[edit]

Vinyl[2][edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Let's Go" (R. Ocasek) – 3:35
  2. "Good Girls Don't" (D. Feiger) – 3:13
  3. "How Do I Make You" (B. Steinberg) – 2:23
  4. "Refugee" (T. Petty/M. Campbell) – 3:07
  5. "Frustrated" (D. Fieger/B. Averre) – 2:54

Side two[edit]

  1. "Call Me" (D. Harry/G. Moroder) – 3:11
  2. "You May Be Right" (W. M. Joel) – 4:03
  3. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (F. Mercury) – 2:39
  4. "My Sharona" (D. Fieger/B. Averre) – 4:03

CD[edit]

  1. "Call Me" (D. Harry/G. Moroder) – 3:11
  2. "Refugee" (T. Petty/M. Campbell) – 3:07
  3. "Frustrated" (D. Fieger/B. Averre) – 2:54
  4. "You May Be Right" (W. M. Joel) – 4:03
  5. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (F. Mercury) – 2:47
  6. "My Sharona" (D. Fieger/B. Averre) – 4:03
  7. "How Do I Make You...?" (B. Steinberg) – 2:23
  8. "Good Girls Don't" (D. Fieger) – 3:13
  9. "Let's Go" (R. Ocasek) – 3:35

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

2005 CD Edition credits[edit]

  • Janice Karman: Reissue producer
  • Spencer Chrislu: Digital remastering

References[edit]