The Ramones' Ramones (33 1/3)
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What could be more punk rock than a band that never changed, a band that for decades punched out three-minute powerhouses in the style that made them famous? The Ramones' repetition and attitude inspired a genre, and Ramones set its tone. Nicholas Rombes examines punk history, with the recording of Ramones at its core, in this inspiring and thoroughly researched justification of his obsession with the album.
had a list of 100 people and we hit everybody. Did you lick the envelopes yourselves? Tommy: Yeah, addressed them and everything. 66 58 This form of do-it-yourself publicity, while much different in scale than the massive promotional engines that sustained supergroups like Led Zeppelin and the Eagles, was nonetheless driven by a desire to reach a broad audience. Rather than look at their success as something to be ashamed of, or as some sort of sellout, the Ramones remained keenly aware that,
not that Ramones offered itself as an ironic rock album, but that it might be received that way by an audience raised in a TV culture that always questioned the codes of sincerity. Or, looked at another way, punk irony was gradually evolving into the new norm, replacing the macho sincerity and you-better-take-this-concept-album-seriously of progressive rock, which would help explain punk’s delayed acceptance into the mainstream and its late-blossoming stature: it came at the very beginning of a
in part because, at its best, rock and roll promises an escape from the tyranny of all attempts to force hierarchies on human experience. In her classic 1969 essay “Trash, Art, and the Movies,” Pauline Kael wrote of “trash” films that when “you clean them up, when you make movies respectable, you kill them. The well-spring of their art, their greatness, is in not being respectable.” 91 While it could be said that punk fought long and hard against respectability, there is no denying that the early
chain saw, but with what sounds to be a circular saw. Framed by Joey’s bizarrely expressionistic vocalizing (pronouncing massacre “massacreee”), the song plugs into the narrative of Tobe 86 Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released in 1974. Like the low-budget, do-it-yourself aesthetics of the film itself, “Chain Saw” is among the fastest songs on the album, and the most homemade sounding. Comparisons between the demo version of “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” and the album version demonstrate
purposes by EMI Records Limited in October 1976—an unknown group offering some promise, in the view of our recording executives, like many other pop groups of different kinds that we have signed. In this context, it must be remembered that the recording industry has signed many pop groups, initially controversial, who have in the fulness of time become wholly acceptable and contributed greatly to the development of modern music. ... Sex Pistols is the only “punk rock” group that EMI Records