The late 1970s was a strange time for music in general, and it certainly was a divisive one. Disco had exploded in the eyes of those who purchased mainstream music, although that would quickly die out by the end of 1980. Punk was also developing, although it had a much more long-term place (arguably so) in musical history. Progressive Rock was mainly dying out at the time as well, which meant that another trend was on the wane. The Ramones however, pioneering a lot of what Punk was about, were still making great records, although this is one of their better listens, judged by many. Strange times were leading to a Road To Ruin. Let’s take a listen and see how it sounds.
We begin with I Just Want To Have Something To Do begins with a loud, punchy riff and simplistic lyrics. It is another great and groovy song by the group which sounds very good. It’s a slower piece than you’d expect but sounds fiery and awesome. A very catchy and basic piece of music, this should easily have a place in many Punk rocker’s collections out there. It’s less than three minutes long and sounds very, very good. It’s about doing something fun at night, which is pretty cool. Interesting tune, with some loud guitar parts towards the end. Good start to the album.
Next in line is I Wanted Everything which is much faster and more direct sounding. It sounds ridiculously good, particularly with Johnny Ramones’s loud and punchy Mosrite guitar. It is a powerful and interesting listening experience that sounds enjoyable and awesome. A really fine piece of songcraft, this is catchy and really cool. The lyrics are about money matters, and it sounds really great. An uplifting and anthemic piece of fast music, this certainly sounds very different to a lot of music out there. A nice borderline Hardcore Punk tune, all the way to the fade-out. Brilliant.
Don’t Come Close is a far more Poppy piece that the Ramones have never attempted to do before. It’s about relationship issues but sounds really cool all the same. This is a good piece about rejecting a lover who is a nuisance. Nice to listen to when the mood strikes. However, this is a little strange for the Ramones to be creating such a soft-sounding song. It still works well, though. There is a neat and loud guitar solo here, which shows the band at their best. A great piece of music all the same.
I Don’t Want You is a slower and more punchy piece. It is poppier and shinier than what you’d expect from the Ramones, and it sounds like a good song for teenage youth. A good song although this is the Ramones experimenting with their sound and style. It is a good listen regardless and is almost as consistent as the material from earlier Ramones. A decent tune, all the same, the chorus is fairly catchy. Another short piece under three minutes, it is well done.
Next along is Needles and Pins which begins with a drum roll, followed by a much more Pop mainstream piece. To be honest, this seems like a piece of music that sounds a bit miss, not hit. By this point of the album, it is arguable that this effort is slightly weaker than earlier efforts by the Ramones. Bonus points must go to these guys for trying something different nonetheless, even if it doesn’t sound as good as it could be.
After that is I’m Against It which is more typical Ramones territory with buzzcut guitars and a loud and driven piece of wondrous melody and anti-political stance by the group. This no doubt was an inspiration to many Punk rockers in the future, you can certainly hear why. A really top and driven listen, this does sound very, very good. Not bad for two minutes of listening.
I Wanna Be Sedated is the biggest hit from this album. It’s a slower and better tune that is actually very good for what it is. Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll is here to listen to musically, and the Ramones sing and play wonderfully on this song. A good piece about getting wasted and not giving a proverbial about life and music involved. Great song, it ends with handclaps and harmony based singing that is a reminder of The Beach Boys. Great stuff.
Go Mental is loud, faster and full of driving energy. It sounds really well delivered and performed and has some interesting lyrics about losing it. This is another decent and straightforward listen that is a good and very late 1970s Punk song. These guys sound very good and accomplished at their music on this album. A rather odd guitar solo is at the end, along with a good fadeout. Nice effort.
Next up is Questioningly which is a longer and poppier piece that sounds a lot like the Eagles. It does not really suit the Ramones to do some Pop music. Like AC/DC, these guys have a fairly limited musical style that shouldn’t be tampered with. In any case, it’s good but doesn’t sound as good as it could be. The guitar solo in the second half sounds odd as well. The song sounds too soft and slow to be considered a really great one. The organ here is different, and the song finishes with Joey Ramone singing away well. It’s okay but too soppy for the Ramones.
Following is She’s The One which is much faster and rawer, back to the good stuff. It’s about lusting after a girl of one’s dreams. It sounds pretty cool and is a nice, short story that is really upbeat and enjoyable to listen to. A furious and passionate song about being in love with a metaphorical girl, this is really full of good vibes and uplifting melody.
Bad Brain comes after, which is a straightforward, fast and fun listen. It is one of the more underrated pieces of music on this album and sounds interesting. It certainly matches the Punk ethos of the time, but with less aggression and more ambivalence abound. A really cool piece of music, it has some furious drumming and sound effects in the second half, before going straight back into the chanted outro. Not bad.
It’s A Long Way Back begins with a drum roll, before launching into a sludgy and dirty guitar groove that sounds really excellent. A great and driving piece of music that finishes an interesting album, this is a good conclusion to a record that is more mixed musically than expected. Nonetheless, the guitar work here is great. Minimalist and aggressive sounding, this is nice to listen to. Good effort.
This album is a good one, yet some of the more Pop pieces are a bit of a turnoff rather than drawing one into this album. Nonetheless, give the Ramones credit where due. This is an album that is just short of Classic Album status but is good to hear if you want a different dose of the Ramones. What came after was worse, yet all the same, this is a good listen.
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