PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Ramones: Ramones (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Divided we stand four decades since this legendary masterpiece was born. Even from their graves, the Ramones’ timing remains impeccable.


Ramones

Ramones (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Label: Sire / Rhino
US Release Date: 2016-09-09
Amazon
iTunes

They say that the sun may shine on a dog’s hindquarters some days; well, mine certainly turned dark when I got the opportunity to review what is probably my favorite album of all-time, the self-titled debut masterpiece by the Ramones. Forty years have passed since it arrived, and there's still nothing cooler. At the time, nothing sounded like it; nothing carried that attitude and head-down locomotion of Johnny Ramone’s power chords, backed by the scuzzy backbeat of Dee Dee Ramone’s bass guitar and Tommy Ramone’s tub-thumping. Throw in the odd-ball inflections of Joey’s vocals and history was written, or at least laid to tape. Now, four decades later, and even from their graves, the Ramones’ timing remains impeccable. In 1976, disco and its constituents needed a swift kick in the ass, and these four mop-topped and punk-dressed rabble-rousers from Queens made a statement of generous proportions. It was a sound that would blow the stickers off the walls at CBGB in NYC’s Bowery and go on to spawn millions of fans, and it deserves the limited edition treatment (with all the bells and whistles) in 2016.

Lifelong Cretins and newcomers alike need to scour the album and its presentation; for hardcore fans, it's nothing less than a religious experience. It comes with a beautiful hardcover of the original album art, with the photo taken by Roberta Bayley for Punk Magazine -- the boys about face on that brick wall with scant, primitive graffito along the chipping plaster coat just around the corner from what is now John Varavatos’ storefront and former footprint of CBGB -- adjourned inside the cover as well as its posterior (next to the bald eagle belt buckle that eventually became the famous Arturo Vega designed Ramones logo, with the eagle gripping an apple branch and baseball bat wrapped in the names of the original four members’ pseudonyms). In general, the wax graces you with the full album in both mono and stereo format, and sharing its pouch is the cherry on top, a book boasting a myriad of pictures and updated liner notes from front liners, producer Craig Leon and author Mitchell Cohen. It's an endearing read on both counts by two heads of state, in a matter of speaking.

You’re presented with three CDs and one vinyl record. The first disc includes the stereo and mono versions of the album; while that may sound impressive, the second and third discs are the real holy grail. Disc two beats your head in with the first two singles, “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend”, in stereo and then mono, complete with the original, unedited fascist lyrics of “Today, your love / Tomorrow, the world”, and the scrumptious main course of demos. They're thick, juicy morsels of the band finding their sound and Joey perfecting his custom Queens-meets-Londontown lyrical permutations. As for the third disc, it showcases two live sets at the Roxy, Hollywood on 8/12/76 (the second set was previously unreleased). Here, you have over three hours of pure perfection and boundless energy; you know, the stuff that makes dreams.

The Ramones will remain a launching pad for artists and bands around the globe, as a sense of “Hey, I can do that, too!” is born upon your first listen. It either grabs you for life or scares the shit out of you. Either way, the simplicity is the genius, as no song goes over three minutes and consists of more than a few chords, a couple of bass notes, machines gun drum beats, and bubble gum lyrics (mostly about dark matters). They created a look, a sound, and a lifestyle that served as the main jewel in the punk rock figurehead for ages. Infamous, famous, nerdy, and ultra-cool, they were simply living oxymorons without a care in the world for earthly possessions sans instruments (and sometimes not even that). Check it out ASAP and then go out and start your own band.

10

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.