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Ramones

Four men standing against a graffiti-covered wall. Each man has a black leather coat, jeans, and long brown hair. At the top of the black-and-white image, "RAMONES" is spelled out in all caps.

The Ramones

1976

Punk-rock doesn't all have to be snotty and pretentious, take The Ramones for example.  It's pretty much impossible to throw this on and not enjoy it from start to finish...granted, most of the songs all sound the same, but they're pretty damn fun and infectious so that's not a bad thing at all...three-cord punk ear candy...a classic album.

8.5

Leave Home

Ramones - Leave Home cover.jpg

Ramones

Following-up the Ramones' classic self-titled album was no easy task, and while Leaving Home is overall a pretty decent album, it ultimately is not able to live up to the infectious nature of it's predecessor. It ends up essentially sounding like more of the same really, but with significantly less highlights than the aforementioned album.  This results in a slightly underwhelming and borderline monotonous feel to the album overall, although that's probably a harsh term for such a fun band that consistently pumped out spunky and catchy little 3-chord gems, as is the case on Leaving Home for the most part.  Although there are a few classic songs to be found here (most notably "Gimmie Gimmie Shock Treatment" and "Suzy Is A Headbanger"), for the most part this album just doesn't sound quite as fresh or fun as their debut.  It also doesn't help matters that Leave Home is followed by perhaps the Ramones' best record (Rocket to Russia), so it ends up in the shadow of both of those classic albums.

That said, Leave Home is far from a poor record.  It's pretty solid, but it can't help but sound slightly underwhelming when compared to what came immediately before and after it.

7.8

Rocket to Russia

Ramones - Rocket to Russia cover.jpg

Ramones

1977

The Ramones are a funny band to me.  I was never really into them for the longest time, mainly because I thought they were kind of a cliche band, with their too-cool-for-school punk-rock image, and their associated 3-cord/simple sounding tunes that always sounded a little too cute for my liking.

But then I picked up their classic debut album a while back, kind of on a whim, and practically couldn't stop listening to it for several days straight.  Their songs are just too catchy, fun, and spunky not to be thoroughly enjoyed, but for some reason it took me a few more years to start exploring their other albums.  That's mainly a testament to how good their debut is rather than a lack of interest on my part, but, whatever the case, I was perfectly happy throwing on their debut when I needed my Ramones fix.  Leave Home was predictably a little underwhelming (but not bad my any means), but I was pretty surprised at just how good Rocket To Russia actually is.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's just as good as their debut, if not slightly better.  It's splitting hairs really, as both albums are incredibly fun to listen to and are bonafide classics in most everybody's book.  Rocket To Russia feels a little bit more accessible/well-rounded compared to their debut, but it doesn't loose any of the band's trademark spunk in the process.  "Cretin Hop", "Rockaway Beach", "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker", and "Do You Wanna Dance" are classics, but there's also no filler here, as every song keeps things flowing along at the upbeat and punchy pace you would expect.  "We're A Happy Family" is a good (and amusing) example of this, and is one of my favorite songs on the album.

Plenty of other spunky gems to be found on Rocket To Russia, a classic album that just might be the Ramones' finest hour.

8.5

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