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Learning English: Lesson One

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Die Toten Hosen 11/16/2007

Review

At once a tribute and a perfect calling card for an Anglophonic audience, Learning English is a hilarious romp through a slew of punk classics (and not-exactly classics) that's impossible to resist. Sure, many might want to hear the originals instead, but the fact remains that the quartet didn't become huge in their native country for nothing -- if the need is for loud, three-chord classics and shoutalong choruses, Die Toten Hosen can deliver in spades and with plenty of spirit. What seems like a gimmick -- the participation of at least one member from every band covered on the appropriate song -- actually makes Learning English feel like a great party album, with everyone taking a turn at the mike. If some voices are a bit thrashed with time, it's still good to hear everyone from Joey Ramone and the Damned's Captain Sensible to Chelsea's Gene October and Knox from the Vibrators take a bow. Even escaped U.K. convict Ronald Biggs, famous for his association with the post-Rotten Sex Pistols, takes a bow with "Punk Was," the one original on the album and a nostalgia-filled celebration. The choice of songs throughout may seem idiosyncratic -- one really needs to know U.K. punk to recognize tracks like "Do You Remember" by the Rockafellas and "Love and a Molotov Cocktail" by the Flys. But the great performances on such unquestioned monsters from the spirit of 1977 like "If the Kids Are United," "Smash It Up," and "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" -- not to mention "Born to Lose," one of the last recordings featuring Johnny Thunders before his death -- rule the roost. Add in detailed liner notes from the band expressing their sheer delight at working with their heroes and a slew of memorabilia from the members' punk-crazed youth, plus between-song clips from a fake language instruction record (thus the album title), and the result is great fun. ~ Ned Raggett
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Learning English, Step One Die Toten Hosen 0:31
  3. 2 Blitzkrieg Bop Die Toten Hosen 1:50
  4. 3 Brickfield Nights Die Toten Hosen 3:33
  5. 4 Step Two Die Toten Hosen 0:12
  6. 5 Just Thirteen Die Toten Hosen 2:30
  7. 6 If the Kids Are United Die Toten Hosen 3:9
  8. 7 Nasty Nasty Die Toten Hosen 2:7
  9. 8 Step Three Die Toten Hosen 0:17
  10. 9 Dirty Pictures Die Toten Hosen 2:16
  11. 10 Baby Baby Die Toten Hosen 3:13
  12. 11 Gary Gilmore's Eyes Die Toten Hosen 2:15
  13. 12 Born to Lose Die Toten Hosen 3:21
  14. 13 How the Rockefellas Went to Hollywood Die Toten Hosen 0:18
  15. 14 Do You Remember Die Toten Hosen 3:24
  16. 15 Carnival in Rio (Punk Was) Die Toten Hosen 3:7
  17. 16 Step Four Die Toten Hosen 0:18
  18. 17 Right to Work Die Toten Hosen 3:3
  19. 18 Whole Wide World Die Toten Hosen 3:19
  20. 19 Smash It Up Die Toten Hosen 2:57
  21. 20 Stranglehold Die Toten Hosen 2:10
  22. 21 Step Five Die Toten Hosen 0:23
  23. 22 Love and a Molotov Cocktail Die Toten Hosen 2:31
  24. 23 Do Anything You Wanna Do Die Toten Hosen 4:25
  25. 24 Goodbye from Janet and John Die Toten Hosen 0:59
  26. 25 No One Is Innocent Die Toten Hosen 3:1
  27. 26 Should I Stay or Should I Go Die Toten Hosen 2:42
  28. 27 Rockaway Beach Die Toten Hosen 1:59
  29. 28 Eddie & Sheena Die Toten Hosen 4:25
  30. 29 Richmond Die Toten Hosen 2:40
  31. 30 In the Still of the Night Die Toten Hosen 4:10
  32. 31 Anything But Love Die Toten Hosen 3:57
  33. 32 I Met Her at the Jet Grill Die Toten Hosen 1:55

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