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"Road to Ruin" is the 4th studio album by American punk rock band, Ramones. It was released in 1978 on Sire Records and produced by Tommy Erdelyi & Ed Stasium. The line-up for the album was Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitar), Dee Dee Ramone (bass) and Marky Ramone (drums).
This was the first Ramones album to feature former Richard Hell & the Voivods drummer, Marc Bell (aka Marky Ramone), who had replaced Tommy Ramone on the drum throne after he'd left to concentrate on producing albums, and specially, Ramones albums.
"I Just Want to have Something to Do" gets the album off to a good start with quite possibly the best song off the album, but I think that's just because Joey manages to get the line "eating chicken vindaloo" into the song. I do like the very catchy chorus, too, even if it is mainly just Joey singing "tonight" over and over. It's a song about hanging out with friends but having nothing to do because of poverty.
"I Wanted Everything" is a song that was written by Dee Dee about his younger days in Queens as a delivery boy and how he thought this was going to be just the first step on the ladder to a career. There's some nice guitar playing on this song and we get a first taste of Marky's drumming style which would become a staple diet of the Ramones over the years.
"Don't Come Close" is a slower song with acoustic tones and Dee Dee's bass lines can be enjoyed to the full. The song has a surprising solo near the end, which is not heard much on many Ramones songs at all.
"I Don't Want You" takes us back to punk rock chords and is basically a love song with the narrator saying he's damned if he does, and damned if he don't, as the woman he had was cheating on him and he'd had enough. It's a song which is meant to sound serene but I think it's a good cheerful song instead.
"Needles & Pins" is a 1963 song originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon but more famously recorded by the Searchers, Cher and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. It was written by Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche and the Ramones try to keep to the original sound as much as possible. The guitars aren't loud and Joey's vocals are subdued compared to other songs on the album. I could definitely think of better songs to cover and I'm not sure why this one was chosen.
"I'm Against It" is in the classic Ramones three chord guitar mould with an upbeat tempo. It's a song about how the band isn't taking criticism of the punk rock scene too seriously, with the lyrics suggesting all the things that people don't like. It's very tongue in cheek but it gets the point across that you can't like everything.
"I Wanna be Sedated" is an absolute classic of a song with a an excellent slab of punk rock that deals with the constant pressures of touring the world and how Joey in particular was burning out and needed a break. This is one of the best Ramones songs ever, and easily the best on the album. The video to the song has the band sat at a table while chaos resumes all around them.
"Go Mental" is a continuation of the theme of being institutionalised that Joey writes a lot about. This time the narrator has been released from a mental hospital, even though he doesn't think he's ready for it. I like the guitar sound on this song and Joey's style of singing changes a little but a little for the better as he's trying to make it sound like he's the narrator on the verge of cracking up.
"Questioningly" has Johnny doing something different as he plays acoustic guitar and slide guitar on different parts. It's a love song of sorts, with the narrator saying he's doing well after losing his girl and his boss even thinks so but once he sees her again it all starts to go downhill. It's not amongst my favourites but then again I always did prefer the faster songs.
"She's the One" is one of the heaviest songs on the album but you also get tones of the Beach Boys dropping in on another Ramones song again, and this is definitely one of my favourites. Lyrically, it's pretty obvious what it's all about, in that the narrator has found his one true love. It's a pleasure to hear Dee Dee and Johnny in unison on the guitars here.
"Bad Brain" continues hitting the punk rock punchbag with a cheery song that has all the right ingredients. The narrator is talking about his past life but one day he's walking down Bowery in Manhattan (where the legendary CBGBs was) and he has no idea who he is. This is a clever song with some great guitar playing, but not one you'd hear live much.
"It's a Long Way Back" is a song written by Dee Dee about how when he moved back to the United States, he noticed that he was far away from where his dad was stationed in an army base in Germany. There are only four lines in the whole song but you get a sense of how Dee Dee was feeling at the time.
In summary, it's not a brilliant a brilliant Ramones album. You still get what you want with punk rock, with "I'm Against it" and "I Wanna be Sedated" being the stand-out tracks that quite possibly save the album from being a disaster but this is my least favourite Ramones album of them all.
1. I Just Want to Have Something to Do
2. I Wanted Everything
3. Don't Come Close
4. I Don't Want You
5. Needles & Pins
6. I'm Against It
7. I Wanna be Sedated
8. Go Mental
10. She's the One
11. Bad Brain
12. It's a Long Way Back
My rating: 5/10
A little dooyoo issue upstairs as they've labelled the album incorrectly - this should simply be 'Road to Ruin', here's guessing Dooyoo HQ don't get a regular dose of punk rock!
Road to Ruin by The Ramones was their 4th album in the quick time of 2 years, released in 1978 it sounds a little different from it's predecessors with a cleaned up production sound. Lyrically and vocally, it's still basically catchy girl bands from the 60s with balls and slightly more aggressive lyrics. Catchy little punk riffs, deep nasally vocals and tight musicianship as you would expect from the band. I'm Against It is probably the most upbeat and enjoyable track with a decent message along, I've always thorougly enjoyed Go Mental and I Wanna Be Sedated personally.
You will find though that the first couple of tracks are a little bit slower and may give the listener a.. what's happening here, is this the Ramones of old or not thought. The album tends to get quicker as it goes on though and it's really all not that foreign to the ears of a Ramones fan. I still prefer the 3 predecessors - Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia over this one but it's still a pretty decent album!
1. "I Just Want to Have Something to Do" (Ramones) - 2:42
2. "I Wanted Everything" (Ramones) - 3:18
3. "Don't Come Close" (Ramones) - 2:44
4. "I Don't Want You" (Ramones) - 2:26
5. "Needles and Pins" (Sonny Bono / Jack Nitzsche) - 2:21
6. "I'm Against It" (Ramones) - 2:07
7. "I Wanna Be Sedated" (Ramones) - 2:29
8. "Go Mental" (Ramones) - 2:42
9. "Questioningly" (Ramones) - 3:22
10. "She's the One" (Ramones) - 2:13
11. "Bad Brain" (Ramones) - 2:25
12. "It's a Long Way Back" (Ramones) - 2:20
Later versions of the CD albums include bonus tracks.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 I Just Want To Have Something To Do
2 I Wanted Everything
3 Don't Come Close
4 I Don't Want You
5 Needles And Pins
6 I'm Against It
7 I Wanna Be Sedated
8 Go Mental
10 She's The One
11 Bad Brain
12 It's A Long Way Back
13 I Want You Around
14 Rock 'n' Roll High School
15 Blitzkrieg Bop/Teenage Lobotomy/California Sun/Pinhead/She's The One
16 Come Back She Cried (I Walk Out)
17 Yea Yea