Thursday, 31 May 2018

The Ramones - Rocket To Russia (1977)


Released November 1977

Recorded at Media Sound Studio, Manhattan

The studio work of The Ramones is probably the least in need of remastering of any band. That said, there is a full, bassy warmth to this latest remastering that has not been there before and serves as a counter to the full-on guitar of most of the tracks.

Released in late 1977, this was the album where breakneck punk fully met surf pop and goofball lyrics complete the "chewin' out a rhythm on my bubblegum" pleasure. Surf pop. Power pop. Call it what you will, it is there in the wonderful "Rockaway Beach", the cover of "Surfin' Bird",  in "Ramona", "Locket Love" and the cover of "Do You Wanna Dance". The obsessions with health, particularly mental health abound in "Cretin Hop", "I Wanna Be Well" and "Teenage Lobotomy". Then there is the goofy humour of "We're A Happy Family" and the quirky "Why Is It Always This Way?". Punky nihilism is there too in "I Don't Care", while "I Can't Give You Anything" is a cynical "anti-love" song.

Then there is one of the first "punk ballads" in the lovely "Here Today Gone Tomorrow" and, of course, there is the "hit" - the iconic "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker". All great 1-2-3-4 stuff. The other versions of the album you get here - the "tracking mixes" and the "rough mixes" are both appealing in their own way. I am not quite sure how they differ from each other. In relation to the original album, I find the "Tracking Mixes" just a bit "rougher", more bassy, more defined somehow. Again, not sure what the differences really are, but they are there. The alternative versions are worth listening to.

The extras - instrumental versions, demos versions, alternate lyric versions are of only initial interest to me and no more, I'm afraid.

All in all, though, if you a fan, you will still want to get it. If you just want the original album, download the individual tracks.


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