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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Ramones

Ramones Mania

Review by Gary Hill

This collection of music by the Ramones would be a perfect way to start your personal Ramones collection. For those who say the band were limited and could only do one type of music, I challenge you to check this out. I think you’ll find more diversity here than you think. No matter what type of music they are playing, though – one things for certain – the Ramones’ music is fun.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I Wanna Be Sedated
This is classic Ramones. It's old school rock and roll merged with their weird sense of humor and punk sensibility. It's catchy and just plain rocks. I love the "ba, ba, ba, ba" section. That's particularly telling because I can't stand doo-wop music, and it's based on that kind of thing. Yet, The Ramones make it work.
Teenage Lobotomy
Here’s another classic. It opens with drums and then voices join. This is perhaps more pure punk oriented than some of the other Ramones music.
Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?
I’ve never been blown away by this one. It’s got too much of a generic old school rock and roll sound to it and feels a bit too much like Elvis Costello or something.
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
This one’s not the classic that the first couple tracks are, but it’s more on target than the last one. Of course, it is a little too much like “I Wanna Be Sedated.”
Beat on the Brat
Now we are back in pure classic territory. There’s a bit of a fake British accent on this track and it’s more of a raw stripped down arrangement than some of the other stuff.
Sheena Is a Punk Rocker
OK, I know this one is a classic, but it’s another that leaves me a bit non-plussed. It’s got way too much of a doo wop feeling to it for my tastes.
I Wanna Live
More like something from the early 1960’s, this has a bit more melody to it – in terms of picked guitar on the intro. I like this one a lot. It’s a real powerhouse and a great way to change things up a bit.
Pinhead
“Gabba Gabba, We Accept You.” You can’t beat that. This is another classic. It’s a stripped down Ramones monster.
Blitzkrieg Bop
And the classics just keep coming. This is catchy and fun and still rocks out very well.
Cretin Hop
The title makes you think that the song might be very much like the previous one, but it really isn’t. This is another fun rocker.
Rockaway Beach
Another high energy rocker, this isn’t hugely different than a lot of the music here, yet it’s got its own identity.
Commando
Here’s a pretty ballad. OK, I’m just kidding. This is another raw rocker. It’s perhaps more purely punk than some of the music in the set. It’s a good tune.
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Another that has quite a bit of 1950’s texture to it, this is cute, but a little lightweight in my book. It does represent a change of pace, though.
Mama's Boy
This frantic rocker is more pure hard rock than some of the rest of the stuff here. I like this one a lot and it’s a bit of a change from some of the other material.
Bop 'Til You Drop
This one is almost metal. Of course, it’s the Ramones doing it – and you can’t miss that fact.
We're a Happy Family
Another old school Ramones classic, this is fun – twisted, but a lot of fun. It’s one of the catchier pieces and there’s a killer crazy outro.
Bonzo Goes to Bitburg
Here’s another song that changes things up a bit. It’s not all that special in a lot of ways, though.
Outsider
This one’s perhaps one of the weaker numbers here. It’s not bad, but nothing exceptionally special either.
Psycho Therapy
Here we have another classic. This is a strong rocker that’s lots of fun.
Wart Hog
Arguably the most “punk” track here, this is incredibly cool and almost hardcore at times.
Animal Boy
I’d say there are equal helpings of Motorhead and pure punk in this mix. It’s a good change up and a strong tune.
Needles & Pins
This feels like The Ramones do an Elvis Presley ballad. It’s definite some variety, but I don’t like this number that much.
Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La)
This is arguably the strangest piece on show. It’s got a lot of classic Ramones sound, but there’s also some Lords of the New Church here and even some progressive rock. I like it, but it’s definitely odd from the point of view of Ramones music.
Somebody Put Something in My Drink
Now, this is more like it – another classic. It’s powerful and mean. It’s also one of my favorites on the set.
We Want the Airwaves
Perhaps not the most obvious highlight, I’d have to say that I consider this to be one nonetheless. I really like this a lot. It’s got more of a classic rock texture to it than punk.
Chinese Rock
More rough and tumble and classic Ramones in nature, this one’s just not a huge standout to me.
I Just Want to Have Something to Do
A somewhat slower, powerful number, this is just plain awesome. It’s another of my list of standouts here.
KKK Took My Baby Away
This more rock grind isn’t really one of my favorites.
Indian Giver
This feels more like the Black Crowes than the Ramones in a lot of ways, but it’s still a good track.
Rock 'N' Roll High School
This is just what we need – another version of one of the songs that doesn’t work as well for me. I know it’s a hit – and a lot of people like it, but do we really need to duplicate anything on the set?
 
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