You know how you always want things to be different than they are now? If it is hot, you want it a little colder. If it is cold, you want it a little warmer. As much as I have enjoyed the steady diet of extended-length songs and a good run of classic and progressive rock, today’s album is a welcome change of pace. Clearly, with the ultimate success of this album and the movement followed, the rest of the music world was ready for a change as well. Today we feature the debut album, “The Ramones”, naturally performed by the Ramones, from the heart of Queens in New York City. True pioneers of punk rock, this album is rated #47 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and is the #2 punk rock album of all time, as rated by loudersound.com.
Dismissing wandering jams and drifting melodies, every song on this album is short, typically around 2 minutes in length, intense and upbeat in structure, with no guitar solos to speak of at all. Just fast, grinding chords and the clever lyrics and surprisingly melodic sounds of the Ramones. For those of you who may not know, the Ramones were four guys, each with the adopted last name of Ramone, even though none were related. Singer and leader Joey Ramone led the action and drove the pace. The album opens with a song most will quickly recognize, “Blitzkrieg Bop”. The first single and a classic still today, it is a great song, and also known to me as the song the Griswold kids used to drown out Clark and Ellen after they belted out “Mockingbird”.
The rest of the album rocks on at the same frenzied pace, fourteen short songs in total. After the oddly aggressive “Beat on the Brat”, we have the curiously sweet punk love song, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”. Another of my favorite songs on this album is on the second side, “53rd & 3rd”, and while none of the other songs jumped out to me, they all carry the flag without a miss, and this is definitely a solid album from beginning to end.
Sadly, none of the original Ramones are still alive, but the legacy they left at the front end of the punk rock movement, especially as an American act, will live on forever. They are living proof that a rocker of any sort just can’t wear too much black, and in such an unintended way, were perpetually cool in their delivery.