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Aug 062015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

road-to-ruin

The Ramones knew they were playing some of the best rock ‘n’ roll in the world, and by 1978, they were starting to grow aggravated about how few shared that knowledge. So, taking the if-Mohammad-won’t-come-to-the-mountain approach, they started making small concessions, in the hopes that these little changes would be the all they needed to get radio airplay. Road to Ruin, their fourth album, featured an occasional guitar solo here, an acoustic ballad there, even a couple of songs that lasted longer than three minutes. But the strain of being something other than their true selves was evident, and the record failed in its play for fame, charting outside the top 100. It shouldn’t have been a surprise – the Ramones’ reach was doomed to exceed the mainstream’s grasp – but it was a frustrating letdown all the same.

So what are we left with today when we listen to Road to Ruin? Well, it was a beat away from the first three albums – literally, as Marky Ramone had just taken over Tommy’s drum stool – and a little less cartoony. It was evident when da brudders were trying, but it was evident when they were succeeding as well. And in “I Wanna Be Sedated,” they came up with a song that has worked its way deep into popular culture. Final result: an album that can justifiably be called the fourth straight Ramones classic.
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Aug 052015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

rocket-to-russia

Now, this’ll be a straight walk-off, old school rules. First model walks; second model duplicates, then elaborates. – David Bowie, Zoolander

If Ramones was the Ramones setting the pace, and Leave Home was them duplicating it, then Rocket to Russia was the moment where the Ramones refined their musical approach to an absolute peak. They had perfected their loud fast rules, and were able to expand on them without abandoning them. They varied their tempos, landing hooks with their slow songs just as easily as with their fast ones. They sounded better than ever, with a production budget nearly twice as much as that of their first two albums combined. And they did two cover songs instead of their usual one.
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Aug 042015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

ramones_leave_home

The Ramones‘ second album, Leave Home, didn’t have the element of surprise that their first had, but that’s about the only difference between the two. Once again, fourteen songs accounted for a half hour of humor, menace, and sweetness, a surprising combination that worked perfectly well when delivered at full force.

Leave Home was loaded with songs that would become classics, and sounded like nothing else in the musical world – but therein lay the problem. Joey later explained that “we thought since our music was doin’ something unique that everyone would pick up on that. What really happened was we were so alien that no one wanted to touch us. And so we wouldn’t get played.” They would spend the next few years fighting to change that perception, a fight that would eventually drain them of much of their energy.
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Aug 032015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

ramones

Nineteen years ago this week – on August 6, 1996, to be precise – the Ramones played their 2,263rd and final concert. Today, while both the band and all its founding members are no more, their music not only survives, but thrives, both in the musicians it’s influenced and in its original form.

This week we’re celebrating the Ramones with a Full Albums post on each of their first five albums – Ramones, Leave Home, Rocket to Russia, Road to Ruin, and End of the Century. Look for covers of songs both immortal and forgotten, by the famous and the obscure – 66 of them altogether. We’re starting off with their self-titled debut, the result of certainly the best $6400 ever spent in music history.
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May 302014
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Once upon a time, there was a kind of music that was too dangerous to be sung on the radio, on TV commercials, at sporting events. But a band could spend sixty-four hundred dollars to make an album filled with this music, and watch the people’s reactions change over the decades from fear to fascination to full-on embrace. That’s what happened with the debut album by the Ramones, which opened with “Blitzkrieg Bop,” arguably the most influential song in the history of punk rock.
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Apr 282014
 
The Mountain Goats

Indie folk rockers the Mountain Goats know how to masterfully cover a song, even if it’s worlds away in the realm of classic punk. As part of A.V. Club and Honda’s “Pioneering” series, the trio honored punk heroes the Ramones with a folksy cover of “Danny Says.” Their rendition rings true to the original, only changing the instrumentation from power punk electrics to laid-back acoustics. Singer John Darnielle does Joey Ramone proud as he snarls through this tale of life on the road. Continue reading »