Newest Review: ... machine. With his departure from the band after the album, I have to wonder if it really him on this song. "Outsider" is a s... more
Ramones in the Jungle
Subterranean Jungle - Ramones
Member Name: Jarisleif
Subterranean Jungle - Ramones
Date: 22/10/11, updated on 17/05/12 (6 review reads)
Advantages: Psycho Therapy
Disadvantages: Album seems rushed
"Subterranean Jungle" is the 7th studio album by American punk rock band, Ramones. It was released in 1983 on Sire Records and produced by Ritchie Cordell & Glen Kolotkin. The line-up for the album was Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitar), Dee Dee Ramone (bass) and Marky Ramone (drums).
This was the last Ramones album to feature Marky before his return to the band on 1989s "Brain Drain". Although the album didn't fare well commercially, the band still released two singles off it, "Psycho Therapy" and "Time Has Come Today".
The album gets off to a start with "Little Bit O' Soul", which is a cover version of the 1965 song by the Little Darlings, made more popular with the Music Explosion in 1967. Instantly you get the impression that the song was written for the Ramones even though it clearly wasn't. Johnny's guitar sounds so much more different than anything he's done before, with a more hard rock sound to it and Joey is putting every effort into making the vocals work. The narrator is saying that if you often feel down, just spin some tunes on the record player to make it alright.
"I Need Your Love" is another cover song and a bold move by the band to start off with two covers in my opinion, but this is the Ramones' version of the Boyfriends' song of the same name. Joey puts in a lot of effort in singing it and the chorus is very poppy but I'm not sure if it works for the Ramones, and Marky's drumming almost sounds like a drum machine. With his departure from the band after the album, I have to wonder if it really him on this song.
"Outsider" is a song written by Dee Dee about his alienation in the world, saying how he's alone and doesn't trust anyone enough to get close to them. Dee Dee also gets to sing a little bit on this song but Joey has the lead for the majority of it. It has a typical punk rock beat with Johnny's guitar work sounding really good.
The chorus in "What'd Ya Do?" is the best part of the song as Johnny experiments with a unique guitar sound largely unheard of on any other Ramones track. It begins with slightly strange lyrics but eventually blossoms into a capable punk rock song that is liable to get you rocking. The song was written by Joey and is probably another on the list of tracks written about the saga between himself and his former girlfriend, Linda, who left him for Johnny.
"Highest Trails Above" was written by Dee Dee about leaving this world on a higher plane and how he'll feel happy, telling his friends and family not to worry about him. He last three lines of the song are engraved around a Ramones seal on Dee Dee's headstone:
"I feel so safe flying on a ray
On the highest trails above"
There is some technical guitar playing on this song which makes me think Johnny was experimenting with a different style of playing when the band wrote and recorded this album.
"Somebody Like Me" has a guitar riff similar to "Blitzkrieg Bop" and almost the same song structure too in the verses but the chorus is completely different. It was written by Dee Dee about how he loves life, likes a few drinks and dressing the way he does, even if people do criticise him for it.
"Psycho Therapy" is without doubt on of the most famous Ramones song and was very popular when played live. It has a meaty riff and stonking bass line that goes along with Dee Dee and Joey's wonderfully crafted lyrics that you can't help but like. It's a song that goes back to the youth of the narrator who's an unruly child and his parents want to take him to a shrink to find out why his behaviour is so bad.
"Time Has Come Today" is a cover version of a song by the Chamber Brothers, which was a hit single in 1967. I've never been a huge fan of cover songs on what's supposed to be an original album and with this being the third of three I don't see the appeal. The highlights are that Joey sounds a lot like Mick Jagger and Johnny's chord strumming is pretty good, too.
"My-My Kind of a Girl" was written by Joey and is a love song of sorts that has a 1960s pop edge to it. The production of the song is very guitar focal with Joey's singing a little subdued and slightly inaudible at times. This is not one of my favourite songs but I think that's largely due to the fact that I'm not a 60's kind of a guy!
Now this is more like it! "In the Park" is done in that true Ramones style with Johnny's three chord riffs, Dee Dee's bass chugging away, Marky's drums pounding and Joey's singing being the ever-present factor. It's classic Ramones and is lyrically about being in a street gang and although it was written by Dee Dee, I'm sure he had Johnny in mind for the narrator with his background of fist fighting.
With "Time Bomb" you get all the elements of Dee Dee's song writing. He's saying that he's a live wire and one day he's going to explode because he unashamedly did bad in school and his parents are on his back because of that. I really like the chorus on this song because it's so simple yet so effective.
"Everytime I Eat Vegetables it Makes Me Think of You" is a tongue-in-cheek look at the mentally ill. Joey went to a mental institution and met a girl that was prescribed a Thorazine too many and went completely over the edge and wound up in a permanent vegetative state. Having said all that, it's a nice fun song with a clean sound to it.
In summary, the Ramones don't make things easy for themselves with the three cover songs - I'd have liked to hear more original stuff - but the songs that are original recordings are still very good, and any album that has "Psycho Therapy" on it has to be good, right? Yes and no. It's good but it does seem to be churned out a little too fast for my liking.
1. Little Bit O' Soul
2. I Need Your Love
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 a Girl
10. In the Park
11. Time Bomb
12. Everytime I Eat Vegetables it Makes Me Think of You
My rating: 6/10
Summary: Not brilliant, but not bad