Wednesday, 27 March 2019

The Ramones - Subterranean Jungle (1983)


Released May 1983

This is a most underrated Ramones album, recorded at the height of a fractious atmosphere within the group. It is very much a Joey Ramone album, concentrating on the sixties pop style he loved so much. The songs are deliciously hook-laden and the guitar far more melodic than typically punk. They would evert to punk basics for the next album, "Too Tough To Die" but this one should not be overlooked. It is a joyous, energetic singalong romp.


1. Little Bit O' Soul
2. I Need Your Love
3. Outsider
4. What'd Ya Do
5. Highest Trails Above
6. Somebody Like Me
7. Psycho Therapy
8. Time Has Come Today
9. My-My Kind Of Girl
10. In The Park
11. Time Bomb
12. Every Time I Eat Vegetable It Makes Me Think Of You        

"Little Bit O' Soul" is a catchy, cowbell rhythm-driven poppy opener, with Joey on fine vocal form. "I Need Your Love" is typical Joey Ramone. As with all this album, the production is a bit tinny, but it does not detract too much from the ebullience of the song. "Outsider" is far more Dee Dee Ramone - full of chunky punk riffs and lyrics about social detachment. "What'd Ya Do" is also archetypal 1976-78 grinding, punky Ramones. The frantic "Highest Trails Above", like the previous two tracks, gives the lie to the notion that this is not a punk album. Of course it is, it's still The Ramones.

"Somebody Like Me" has echoes of "All The Way" from "End Of The Century". "Psycho Therapy" was copper-bottomed Dee Dee and would become a live set staple for the remainder of the band's career. It has hints of "Go Mental" from "Road To Ruin" to it. "Time Has Come Today" is a solid, muscular and appealing rock number that last over four minutes! The Ramones Over four minutes? Surely not! This is one of the heaviest numbers they had done. It is a cover of a 1967 track by The Chambers Brothers. They were a "psychedelic soul" band, and this was a very "rock" number for a soul band. The Ramones played it pretty straight to the original.

"My-My Kind Of A Girl", as you may expect, is a harmonious, summery Joey romancer. "In The Park" is an upbeat poppy new-wave track. "Time Bomb" is more retro, punky Ramones. The quirkily-titled "Every Time I Eat Vegetables I Think Of You" is Joey's fun sign-off to this enjoyable, lively, vibrant album. It was already culturally out of time in 1983, however, and was probably only bought by die-hards. Even myself, who was there at the beginning, didn't buy this at the time. It would be many years before I retrospectively got hold of it.


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