Ramones - s/t - New LP
***** good shit
Sometimes I think I've found the perfect punk record...and then I put this one back on...and all yesterdays and tomorrows go sailing out of view...two chords and two minutes...most great albums make me bust out the Maxells to capture a few cuts for a mixed tape about this or that, but this one's got it going from go to whoa, from the catchy menace to the sweet powerpop of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and back to the beautiful lunacy of chainsaws and sniffing glue...which should all come across as scary as an Alice Cooper album, but the relentless singalong fun just makes one want to hook arms with the Blue Caps and skip down the sidewalk to the next sock hop with Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran, Suzy Q and Peggy Sue and all her friends piggybacking along for the ride...just what the doctor ordered in the rusty realities of the 1970s...side one sounds like the hits anthology of some great band that had been making records for 20 years and the flipside sounds like the best of the b-sides of those hits.
-- winch (green noise)
PS: It's amazing this album didn't catch on in 1976. It should have been like a nickelodeon show in the Great Depression, ointment for all the hopelessness of the 1970s, perfect timing when for the first time in years, America was at least trying to get cheered up with the Bicentennial celebration. And this looked like it resembled the biggest fad of the 1970s--the 1950s. Sha-Na-Na had their own TV show! American Graffiti, Grease, Happy Days...it was crazy about the 1950s, the pre-Beatles world that the Ramones were obviously crazy about--they covered "Let's Dance" from 1962! But this album didn't even reach the top 100. That might not seem like a big deal in today's world, but in the mid 70s, music was run by a few major labels which probably means most albums released in the summer of 1976 sold better than The Ramones, countless ones you've probably never heard of from bands that were never heard from again...and while disco would soon take over, "rock" ruled the charts in 1976, with Cameron Crowe bragging about Frampton Comes Alive (see hilarious liner notes on that album), and the Ramones were a rock band, and even if later the "punk" label scared people off, 99.99% of Americans didn't know anything about punk in 1976; the backlash and all-out attack against punk that started in '77 and lasted deep into the 80s hadn't even begun. Sure, it's not surprising that many punk records didn't catch on, but it's amazing that the first two Ramone albums (and all the albums by the Stooges) didn't ever reach into the top 100.
But who cares, it still stands.
kind of funny review from Allmusic:
"The Ramones is all about speed, hooks, stupidity, and simplicity. The songs are imaginative reductions of early rock & roll, girl group pop, and surf rock. Not only is the music boiled down to its essentials, but the Ramones offer a twisted, comical take on pop culture with their lyrics...And the cover of Chris Montez's "Let's Dance" isn't a throwaway -- with its single-minded beat and lyrics, it encapsulates everything the group loves about pre-Beatles rock & roll. They don't alter the structure, or the intent, of the song, they simply make it louder and faster. And that's the key to all of the Ramones' music -- it's simple rock & roll, played simply, loud, and very, very fast. None of the songs clock in at any longer than two and half minutes, and most are considerably shorter. In comparison to some of the music the album inspired, The Ramones sounds a little tame -- it's a little too clean, and compared to their insanely fast live albums, it even sounds a little slow -- but there's no denying that it still sounds brilliantly fresh and intoxicatingly fun." - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Album originally issued May 1976 (July 1976 in the UK), reached #111, ignored in the UK. Reissued 1978.