The fourth studio album by the massively influential punk band The Ramones. Released in 1978 on Sire Records, and rereleased in 2001 with extra material.
It saw the movement of drummer Tommy Ramone (real name Tommy Erdelyi) to his new position behind the mixing desk with Ed Stasium, being replaced by Marky Ramone (real name Marc Bell). The others remained unchanged.
The album was a very significant change in the direction the band was heading in. Filled with angst and aggression it was the metaphorical pin that burst the bubblegum pop bubble created on the previous records. Whereas previously their songs of teenage nihilism had a kind of funniness and romanticism about them, these ones gave the feeling they were now being serious. Lines like "I don't like games and fun, I don't like anyone" from I'm Against It, and many others, showed that the Ramones were now well and truly pissed off. Songs about failed ambition, mental degradation, sour relationships, and teen rebellion were rife on this album.
Despite all this seriousness, the Ramones were still trying to gain some of that elusive mainstream recognition, showed by the increasingly radio-friendly tunes such as the second song I Wanted Everything. They also tried some different sounds on this album, bringing in some country & western influences on tracks such as Don't Come Close and the tear- jerking Questioningly. On other tracks, the addition of an extra chord to the usual three gave them a slightly different, faster sound. The production was good as well, with a crisp, clear and buzzing feel that the previous Rocket to Russia was lacking. Rounded out by Johnny's always crunchy riffage and Joey's sneer (this time without the ironic humor), this record would have come a a big surprise to some people, including fans.
The album contained many great songs and some of the Ramones best and most well-known material. The cover of Sonny Bono's Needles and Pins is delivered in that emotional way that only Joey is capable of, making the words sound like they are his own heartfelt cries. Questioningly, written by Dee Dee, is another heartwrenching ballad about breaking up, getting over the pain and then seeing the person again, dredging up all those feelings of loss and pain.
Another Dee Dee penned song, It's a long way back shows the darker side of Dee Dee exploring his German themes once again after the ones on the first album that got the band in a lot of trouble. There is also the track Bad Brain, a schizophrenic look at the stress, fame and partying - induced mental degradation that grabs hold of people, and is where seminal hardcore band the Bad Brains got their name.
...and then of course is probably their most famous track, I Wanna Be Sedated. Two and a half minutes of pure pop bliss with classic lines such as 'Put me in a wheelchair, get me on a plane, hurry hurry hurry, before I go insane'.
Overall, it is one of the Ramones' great albums. Although the debut self-titled album will always have prominence in my heart, it is still damn good and full of great, memorable songs.
- I Just Want to Have Something to Do
- I Wanted Everything
- Don't Come Close
- I Don't Want You
- Needles and Pins
- I'm Against It
- I Wanna Be Sedated
- Go Mental
- She's the One
- Bad Brain
- It's a Long Way Back
Bonus Tracks on 2001 Warner Bros. rerelase:
- I Want You Around (Ed Stasium version)
- Rock 'n' Roll High School (Ed Stasium version)
- Blitzkrieg Bop/Teenage Labotomy/California Sun/Pinhead/She's the One (live medley)
- Yea, Yea (demo)
p.s: RIP Dee Dee Ramone, who died recently (5th June, 2002) of a suspected overdose.