If I had never heard of the Ramones or heard their music
before, I would have said that this album is one of the worst
I have heard in a long while. However, knowing what I know
about the Ramones - that they are THE original punk rock band
(they've only been around since 1974) and that they truly
created modern music as we know it today - makes this album
much more impressive. When I first listened to this album, I
just kept saying to myself, "How unoriginal! That sounds
just like every other rock band out there!" until I reminded
myself that the Ramones ARE original, it's just that everyone
else has copied THEM.
This album is pretty diverse. When you think of the
Ramones, you think of songs like "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker"
and "I Wanna Be Sedated". This album has some of those as
well as some songs that you would truly categorize as "punk"
music. Then there are some that are neither. Dee Dee
Ramone, who used to be the bass player for the Ramones, wrote
six of the songs on this album. His songs are the true punk
songs. They, of course, have only three chords but they have
a bit more depth than the classic (or should I say
predictable?) Ramonesque songs (which are the ones that Joey
wrote). True, Joey's songs have the sound that made the
Ramones famous and are pretty catchy, but when it's song
after song of that same style each song tends to sound the
same. So it's definitely good to have something different in
between to break up the monotony.
The three cover songs that the Ramones do on this album,
"I Don't Wanna Grow Up", "I Love You", and the theme from
Spiderman, might as well have been written by them. They
sound just like songs the Ramones would write. Out of the
songs written by Joey, the one I enjoyed the most is "Life's
A Gas." The lyrics are pretty dumb but cute, and it sounds
just like the old Ramones sound. "Have A Nice Day", written
by Marky Ramone, has the best drums (probably because Marky
is the drummer) and is also the shortest one on the album -
one minute and forty-one seconds. The two songs I liked the
least were written by CJ Ramone, the new bass player (if you
call six years new). The song "Scattergun" does not fit in
at all on this album. It is the one song that sounds the
least like a Ramones song. The other song written by CJ,
called "Got Alot To Say", is the second shortest song (one
minute and forty-two seconds). Thank goodness! The lyrics
are: "Got alot to say (4 times), I can't remember now (4
times)", back and forth, over and over. The music, however,
is closer to something by Nirvana than by the Ramones. (Is
that good or bad? You decide.) The two best songs are
"Cretin Family" and "Born To Die In Berlin", both written by
Dee Dee. "Cretin Family" is just a good punk song - fast and
about something all teenagers can relate to. But "Born To
Die In Berlin" truly rocks. The lyrics are like poetry, and
the third verse is actually in German, although whoever is
singing that verse (I don't think it's Joey) is singing
through a voice synthesizer--so even if it had been in
English you wouldn't be able to tell what was being said.
However, it's definitely the "shining star" on this album.
They saved the best for last (well, almost last).
"Spiderman" is the very last song but is not listed, so don't
turn off your CD player like I almost did. It's pretty cute.
Overall, I almost enjoyed this album. I've never been a
big fan of the Ramones because I've written more original
melodies myself than they have, but I really have a lot of
respect for them because they initiated the punk rock
movement. If the Ramones had never existed, who knows what
music would sound like now! That's something to think about!
Well, if you are a big Ramones fan and you like their
original sound, there's a few songs you will enjoy on this
album. If you like harder punk, you will enjoy it even more.
If you like creative, interesting melodies, (like myself),
stay far away! Anyway, the Ramones are breaking up in March
1996, so this is your last chance. See them on their last
tour if you can, if not for anything else, at least to say
that you saw them. Just a warning - they play their songs
much faster in concert than on their albums - when I saw
them, they played more than 40 songs in an hour and 15
minutes and then the concert was over. So see them if you
can or you'll miss them forever.
© 1995, Rational Alternative Digital