The Ramones

Adios Amigos

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.

Johanna Bonisteel
© 1995, Rational Alternative Digital
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