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"Leave Home" is the 2nd studio album by American punk rock band, Ramones. It was released in 1977 on Sire Records and produced by Tommy Ramone & Tony Bongiovi. The line-up for the album was Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitar), Dee Dee Ramone (bass) and Tommy Ramone (drums).
Just nine months after releasing their debut album, the Ramones brought us more punk rock with their second outing, "Leave Home". In fact, the band had written these songs around the same time as the ones off their debut album, but there's still a change in progression between the two. The lne-up was unchanged, and "Leave Home" reached No.45 on the UK album charts.
"Glad to See You Go" kicks off the album with that all too familiar Ramones sound of three chord guitar and fast drum beat, backed by Dee Dee's ever-present bass. It's a song about the bassist's ex-girlfriend who was a heroin addict. After one argument too many she stormed out of their apartment and he allegedly shouted out of the window "I'm glad to see you go".
"Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" is one of the best Ramones songs, ever. It has some great verses with a catchy chorus and is about a former girlfriend of Joey's who was sectioned in a mental hospital and after so many shock therapy sessions didn't even recognise who he was.
"I Remember You" is another song written by Joey about a former girlfriend. (seeing a theme here on the songs so far?) It's one of the slowest tracks on the album and could be classed as a love song. It's about how he misses her, lying awake at night wondering why things never last forever.
"Oh Oh, I Love Her So" is a punk-infused song which sounds a little like the Beach Boys could be playing it. The lyrics are so simple yet so enjoyable at the same time, with Joey once again writing about a girl he fell in love with and the things they'd get up to, like going to Coney Island to ride the coasters.
Of the next song, Tommy once said "Something like "Carbona Not Glue" has to be tongue-in-cheek. It's absurd, like saying that you should try something 'more' poisonous." The song is quite heavy with a classic guitar riff and a sing-a-long chorus. It caused a little controversy at the time as kids were sniffing glue because of the band, taking their songs and titles to the extreme. On subsequent presses of the album, the song was replaced with "Babysitter".
"Suzy is a Headbanger" is basically a song about a girl who loves punk music, much to the disapproval of her mother. It was never played a lot live, but it's one of the best Ramones songs that didn't quite make the set list often. It's a more rock and roll song than anything, and very enjoyable to listen to.
"Pinhead" is perhaps in the top 10 of most recognisable Ramones songs, and a staple live song throughout the band's career. It's about acceptance in society and how some people look at you as if you've got three eyes or something. The now infamous Ramones chant of "Gabba gabba we accept you we accept you one of us" kicks the song off into pure punk rock bliss.
"Now I Wanna be a Good Boy" is a song written by Dee Dee on how he regretted running away from home when he was younger. For Ramones fans it's probably a good thing he did or we'd probably have never heard of him. According to Dee Dee himself, this is a filler track for the album but it still holds its own with some great interaction between Johnny on guitar and Tommy on drums.
"Swallow My Pride" is the first song on which we really hear Dee Dee's backing vocals. It's another classic song with more catchy lyrics, but you kind of expect that with the Ramones. Lyrically, it's about how the band's debut album didn't do as well as they expected and how they manned up and soldiered on with this one.
"What's Your Game" is a song that was written by Joey before he wrote "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" and is loosely based around the same subject, although the two songs are completely different, music-wise. Where "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" has a fast pace, "What's Your Game" is probably the slowest on the album, heavily influenced by the love songs of the 1960s.
"California Sun" begins with what mostly always began a live Ramones show and Dee Dee counting in the '1, 2, 3, 4' to start the song. It's yet another Beach Boys influenced song and is a cover, originally recorded by the Rivieras in 1964. The Ramones give it their own personal touch and it's one of the more cheerful highlights of the album.
"Commando" is another of my personal favourite Ramones songs, with one of the catchiest choruses on any record. It was written by Dee Dee about the Vietnam War which was going when he was younger and his experiences when his dad was in the army based in Germany. It's a song the Ramones played live many times.
When "You're Gonna Kill That Girl" begins, you'd think it was Buddy Holly or someone... until Dee Dee chimes in the '1, 2, 3, 4' and you then know it's the Ramones. It's loosely based on Dee Dee's relationship with his former girlfriend, Connie, and was written by Joey. He's basically saying that if he'd stayed with her, Dee Dee would likely have killed her.
"You Should Never have Opened That Door" is a gem of a song which, if had been a pop version could have been the Monkees singing it. It has that 60s vibe to it and is based on the band's love for horror films and how opening the door leads to something bad happening.
In summary, the Ramones learned a lot from the previous album, or did they? Considering both were written at the same time you'd think not, but there is definitely a contrast in the two albums. While "Ramones" was influenced by pop music of the 1960s, "Leave Home" had a more raw punk sound to it, and that's what I like to hear.
1. Glad to See You Go
2. Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
3. I Remember You
4. Oh Oh, I Love Her So
5. Carbona Not Glue
6. Suzy is a Headbanger
8. Now I Wanna be a Good Boy
9. Swallow My Pride
10. What's Your Game
11. California Sun
13. You're Gonna Kill That Girl
14. You Should Never Have Opened That Door
My rating: 8/10
Tracklist: 1. Glad To See You Go 2. Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment 3. I Remember You 4. Oh Oh I Love Her So 5. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker 6. Suzy Is A Head Banger 7. Pinhead 8. Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy 9. Swallow My Pride 10. What's Your Game 11. California Sun 12. Commando 13. You're Gonna Kill That Girl 14. You Should Have Never Opened That Door