Review Summary: ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR! [Chores, allowance, and wardrobes: A half-sane correlation.]
In the main, that's what eventually happens when teens are kept being pushed around in order to act. They'll reach a breaking point of "so, that's the way it's gonna be, huh?". Don't be fooled though, for they'll still do the chores in a way that can earn 'em their allowance; that is, by sweeping the dirt under the carpet. Inevitably, the actuators will notice the pile-up, not to mention the parasites crawling 'round the decadent perimeter, calling out for professional action. Regarding our case, the latter half of the '80s noticed the Ramones hastening things beyond excuse, up to a point where the "EP-bordering" Halfway To Sanity materialised. Putting aside my appreciation for adults savoring their days of yore, I have to admit -this release savours unadulterated sloppiness instead.
First, nobody in his right mind would have required from the Ramones to provide flamboyant compositions or elongated tracks. Inversely, someone did seem to have demanded the far opposite. Such a pity, that he didn't take into consideration a noticeable differentiation in what needs to be addressed, for to sound "appropriate", as we start ticking counterclockwise from the 3 minute staple. And if the Ramones succeeded in such endeavors during the 70s, on Halfway to Sanity, the median track duration of just over 2 minutes won't grab the listener by means of rapidness or attack. To state it otherwise, the Ramones, circa 1987, can't allure your heart-beat into following their version of pseudo-aggression. Consequently, the roller coaster's "clock-out" that should have rung as a saving bell with regard to our adrenaline levels, in reality - simply tolls "ineffective". Moreover, and although, Joey was never an actual singer, he used to have a sincere - even convincing way - of vocalizing the band's ethics; on this album, as does the rest of the group, he sounds... "pushed".
Second, it's one thing to fancy 2 minute tracks yet another to apprehend tunes that sound as they've been composed and recorded using the same time frame. For instance, I could picture someone challenging -Dudes! Next round on me! If you come-up with something "Ramone-ish" in 60 seconds. So, why not apply regurgitated semantics: bop, hop, Camaros, trees, and Joey add backing-Blondie on track 5, so that we will still sound like savouring our CBGB days or at least hint towards our former selves. How's that for a modus operandi? Dunno Latin dude, but why not... I'll throw in some kind of narration resembling Latin!
Third, they should at least have done it by practising their prime trade. Instead, let's try 'n' Thrashcore?, "I'm not Jesus"; let's try 'n' Debut?, "Bop till you drop"; let's try 'n' DanceRockGoth?, "Garden of Serenity". To iterate, one Ramone named Richie tried to include a prayer? on the said core beggary... NARRATION on a Ramones' album. Overall, too much vacillation and track by track indecisiveness, sweeping whichever tangible assets this band had to offer --for why not, Let's simply Rock 'n' Roll?-- further beneath the rug.
Four, when I revisit the Ramones' second decade (the strings album not included), I can't be certain if "sanity" and "insanity" respectively, mark the definitive ends of a binary route, nor if one should stand precisely at the middle in order to actually enjoy this release. Plus, I'm not sure if the opener's subsequent feature on Tony Hawk 8 was somehow related to Richie's modus operandi--some sort of reconcilement for not doing the skate-job 20 years earlier. Alternatively, I'm pretty certain about a couple of truly sane choices that never were: 3 instead of 6 albums during the '80s or half of what was - without Halfway to Sanity of course. Had it been my way, this NY bunch, which the Doc happens to adore, might have fewer enemies post mortem. Above all, the millennial "Big Apple" parasite, which has been boring me to death over the last 30 minutes about his folks "pushing" him to get a job, would have a lesser selection of t-shirts--as today's, featuring Joey in purple socks--to choose from.