Before The Clash, before the Sex Pistols, heck, even before punk itself exploded upon the mainstream, there were only the Ramones, who blatantly made their presence known with their astounding self-titled debut, Ramones. Packed with unforgettably classic tracks, this outstanding disc truly made punk a force to be reckoned with. However, while there’s no denying that the songs are fun, they unfortunately lack the revolutionary political pretensions that would come to leave a lasting imprint on the genre, which only leaves what the lead singer, Joey Ramone, wants (“I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”), what he doesn’t want (“I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement”), what he desires (“Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”), and what he most definitely does not desire (“I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You”). With such contrived subject matter, one might drub at as an overly pretentious mess. Luckily for us (and the millions of punk-rockin’ teenagers who bought the album), expert hooks, humorous songwriting, irresistibly catchy tunes, and unrelentingly punchy vocals lift the album far above that level. And even if you didn’t like the album, one must remember that without this groundbreaking album, punk would never have even come CLOSE to the level it did exactly one year after this album first hit stores, which in turn also wouldn’t have given rise to such important pop-punkers such as Green Day (who heavily paid tribute to the quartet’s classic 1979 release Rocket To Russia with the artwork of their first big break, Dookie), Blink-182, The Offspring…you name it. Even P!nk, being heavily influenced by punk herself, owes something to this spectacular first effort of a band who was, to put it simply, at the top of their game. The point is, while this album definitely is not the very very best of the genre (even Johnny Rotten’s post-Pistols effort, Public Image Ltd, was far more accomplished than this), it is still most definitely worth your time, even after all these years have passed. Trust me. When you first meet the Ramones in all their shamelessly snotty glory yourself, they will simply blow your mind (and have you singing along, of course).
Ramones by Ramones
February 16, 2018