Review Summary: Fitting Swan Song For a Band who Gave everything they had until they had nothing else to give - and then kept on going anyway.
Ahh, the Ramones, arguably the first punk band, a walking cartoon of a group drenched in powerchord and 60's bubblegum. With their first 3 albums they defined their sound, and thus the sound of many many bands to come. The Ramones.... what more can you say about them....
This was a question that was obviously troubling the band as well buy the time they released Adios Amigos!
, their post 1980 output is widely regarded by even the most hardcore fans as mediocre at best, and shocking travesties only a mother could love at worst. From the utterly terrible offerings like Subterranean Jungle
to largely forgetable such as Acid Eaters
, The Ramones seemed to be on a long downward curve. Possibly due Johnny & Joey not speaking to each other, and Dee Dee loosing interest and eventualy leaving to persue a career in hip hop (funky man, HA HA HA). However despite this, a few good songs and albums shine through. Mondo Bizarro
had its moments (arguably so) and songs like Bonzo Goes to Bitburg
and Apeman Hop
show that The Ramones had not lost it completely. And nowhere is this theme of gold shing through the sea of mediocrity more apparent than their final album, the under appreciated swan song of Adios Amigos
Not a brilliant album, in fact you could argue not even particulary good. But there are jollies to be had between the dinosaur clad wrapping paper. But overall something is lacking, and it's the same thing that wrong with most of the bands later stuff; songs like Take The Pain Away
and She Talks To Rainbows
show The Ramones trying to sound like the (imo) overemotional and oversaturated (/imo) punk bands of the day, like AFI and their ilk. They're not awful tunes but they are representetive of the big problem The Ramones had at the time, that they were no longer leading the pack, they were following the the more current upstarts of the day, rather than just churning out more of their trademarked wall of sound, blitzkrieg bopping, brat beating, basement avoiding onslaught.
But yet there are some tunes that return to the old ways. The opener I Don't Want to Grow Up
carries on the great tradition of "I Don't Wanna..." Ramones tunes, and is a fast paced jingle, and is a decent and only mildly uninspiring opener. The songs title is also reasonably amusing, as the band members must have been approaching 50 at the time. Although maybe that was part of the joke - the band that forged the sound of youth alienation pushing forward into middle-aged alienation. Wey-hey. Cretin Family
is another great tune harking back to days gone by, big heavy riff, paranoid lyrics, and all in all a welcome track on the album.
The Ramones second bass player CJ fills in the lyrics for The Crusher
with joey only taking over on the chorus. It's a fairly good tune from the new boy, but also sounds nothing like the bands sound. CJ can crank some good vocals and this tune benafits from it. Overall its a nice excursion. But the other tune he vocals on, Scattergun
is pretty dire and best left alone.
There are alot more songs than what I've mentioned, but none spring to mind and give me anything immediate to say anything about them, which says it all. Not awful, just forgetable. With the exeption of one. Born to Die in Berlin
is a great tune to end the album , and thus, The Ramones on. Epic sounding and riff heavy, the lyrics harking back to Germany, and with it the last track on The Ramones debut. Full circle like.
So alright this review might not filled you heart with joy and anticipation over the album, but thats partly the point. This album commemorates not just the end of The Ramones, but also why The Ramones had to end. Its probably for big fans only, but it does have its moments that push it above the level of albums like Acid Eaters
and Brain Drain
. Overall, a fitting swan song for a band that gave everything they had, until they had nothing left to give, and then kept on going anyway.
Gabba Gabba Hey