|The Ramones – Ramones (1976)
The 4th of July weekend has once again come to a close, but now let me indulge you with what could easily be declared the great American punk album. The Ramones’ debut is one of those albums that I’m sure a lot of people haven’t even bothered listening to because they figure every Ramones song sounds exactly the same, so what’s the point? Well when the songs are brimming with such a potent combination of bubble gum pop and hard-edged guitar punk, is that really such a bad thing?
I guess what makes this the ultimate Ramones album is that it’s just bursting with the kind of giddy abrasiveness that was the cornerstone of the band’s sound for over twenty years. Johnny Ramone might very well have been the best punk rock guitarist that ever lived, mainly because he was able to create the perfect antithesis of what the overblown arena-rock guitarist were doing at the time, employing an undying mantra of three chords and no solos. And on this debut, you’ve got some of Dee Dee Ramone’s most amusing odes to teenage angst, all delivered in Joey’s signature faux-British wail.
Considering The Ramones have such a distinct sound, it’s easy to take them for granted, but I can’t image what an overwhelming breath of fresh air this debut would have been in 1976. And really, you have to admire the craft that’s put into such a compact package, as the album runs just under a half hour, but features an overabundance of memorable moments with songs like “Beat On The Brat” and “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”. Hell, you could even say that The Ramones managed to sum up the entire aesthetic of American punk rock in the album’s lead-off track, the legendary “Blitzkrieg Bop”.
Favorite Tracks: “Beat On The Brat”, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”, “Listen To My Heart”