Review Summary: Hey! Ho! Just let go
The posthumous record sales market is a very lucrative one. Marquee names like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix live on in the form of re-releases, remixes, and outtake compilations. Tupac Shakur has released more albums in death than life. Sales of Amy Winehouse records soared after her passing and groups like The Doors and Nirvana continue to post larger than average sales numbers. In short, there is some benefit in feeling Death’s cold grip on your shoulder.
Sure, it lines the pockets of the suits and their record companies, but what does it offer the consumer? Far from being the revelatory, mythical ‘lost album’ collections that the music press dreams of, such releases are marred by low quality, confused arrangements and a host of unwelcome interferences. Anybody remember the (first?) posthumous Michael Jackson release? Exactly.
Consequently, it comes as a surprise that Joey Ramone’s second solo record comes eleven years after his death. There’s been no commercial or media push for a Ramones trend revival, and the only surviving original member keeps away from the spotlight. Comprising of songs written between 1977 to 2000 and featuring no less than five producers, …Ya Know?
is the average mid-period Ramones re-tread you would expect. In simpler terms, it’s better than Subterranean Jungle
but worse than Brain Drain
Given the time span these songs were written across, one can only assume that the songs on …Ya Know?
were rejected by the rest of his leather clad bandmates at the time of writing. Joey Ramone’s lyrics always belied the fast and furious pace of his group’s music, and so his many glances at the darker side of introspection (jealousy, murder, unrequited love) managed to slip under the radar. The relentless buzzsaw that Johnny and Dee Dee provided gives way to a monotonous mid-pace trundle that stops …Ya Know?
from becoming anything special or memorable.
Forget about the reckless, joyful abandon of classics like “Rockaway Beach”, “Commando”, “Judy Is A Punk” or “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Now we’re lumped with flaccid efforts with names like “I Couldn’t Sleep”, “Seven Days Of Gloom”, “There’s Got To Be More To Life” and “What Did I Do To Deserve You?” Completely unaided by flat production and little or no deviation from one or two initial ideas, it’s verging on an insult to the memory of one of punk’s pioneers.