Ramones Halfway to Sanity LP

I made the big mistake of listening to a lot of old Ramones recently, which put this new release into perspective—a bad one. The edge is gone, the wackiness wants, and the singing normal. Outside of “I Lost My Mind” and “I’m Not Jesus,” this is really inferior material, and one can only wish they were halfway to insanity.

Ramones Crummy Stuff 12″

“Crummy Stuff” is the draw here, though not really a knockout with tinges of synth here and there. “Something to Believe in” rears its ugly head again, and the painfully slow rock number, “And I Don’t Wanna Live this Life” is the finale.

Ramones Animal Boy LP

This album pushes the RAMONES’ style into catchy, straight-ahead HC (which they manage to do better than the vast majority of bands going), with a smattering of rockin’ pop (which has been their forte for a while now). This is another extraordinary RAMONES LP (nothing but great cuts here), and it’s about time we all recognized that they’re the great American band.

Ramones Something to Believe In 12″

Alas, the RAMONES, on their latest release, are heading back to their overproduced period of a few years back. Too many instruments (synth, horns, extraneous shlock and vocals) clutter it all up, absorb the power, and detract from their simple raw pop power. Disappointing three tunes.

Ramones Bonzo Goes to Bitburg / Daytime Dilemma 7″

Continuing along with political/topical material, the RAMONES hit on Ronnie’s trip to the German cemetery with SS dead. The song (B-side is off LP) is a medium tempo rocker, a catchy tune that grows and grows and grows and grows and grows on you! Great!

Ramones Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La) 12″

“Howling at the Moon” is by no means the strongest track from their current album, but the two songs on the flip are very good and non-LP. “Smash You” is a return to vintage ’77-RAMONES, while their cover of the STONES’ “Street Fighting Man” is equally irresistible. I guess I still like these guys a whole lot.

Ramones Too Tough to Die LP

While not the “thrash” LP I had heard rumored (there is one thrasher), it is definitely more of a rocker than their previous outing. What’s even more interesting is the fact that the RAMONES now have a few “political” songs; actual “peace” songs. Take that, you wimps!

Ramones Subterranean Jungle LP

More explorations into the territory they’ve been staking out over the course of their last couple albums. Even without Phil Spector, they’re still aiming for that Spectorian Wall of Sound, and they manage to get it. The material ranges from great new guitar-heavy pop tunes to lame versions of earlier classics like “Little Bit o’ Soul” and “Time Has Come Today.” I think it sounds real good, but if you’re only interested in “Blitzkrieg Bop Part 75,” this LP isn’t for you (except maybe “Psycho Therapy”).