Album review

Joey Ramone - . . . ya know?

Joey Ramone - . . . ya know?

Breathtaking and bittersweet: Joey’s crown jewel, a stunning coda to the Ramones' saga...

When the Ramones finally wound down in 1996, after twenty-plus years as the hardest-working, least-lucky band in punk/rock, who could've foreseen the tragedy ahead?

By 2004, Johnny, Joey, and Dee Dee were dead; ugly truths emerged in books and film; and in a typically cruel irony, their legacy in death far outstrips their modest, real-life success. The Ramones’ trail went truly cold.

But here, after endless legal wrangling and some deft studio trickery (take a bow, Ed Stasium), is a reminder of both the glory days and what might have been: Call it Joey’s rockin’ requiem for the ages. Sweet vulnerability and soaring anthemry, softy sentimentality and machine-gun guitars, ... ya know? cuts deep, with the best singing and wiliest melodies of his career. Three teeth-rattling rockers open— highlighted by the careening, snap-out-of-it-girl missive of “Going Nowhere Fast.”

Power pop pearls abound, too, including a tight, taut nod to T. Rex (“21st Century Girl”) and “What Did I Do to Deserve You?,” jangly riffs swiped from the Traveling Wilburys. A heartbreaking, acoustic “Life’s A Gas” is the poignant closer, and others, from the surging Eddie Cochran-style blast of “I Couldn’t Sleep” to the girl-group paean “Party Line,” are a hoot. The album’s spiritual, emotional centerpiece, though, is the astonishing “Waiting For That Railroad,” all lovelorn introspection, wherein gentle acoustic guitars gradually
reveal a wistful, resplendent Spectorian Wall of Sound.
Luke Torn

Rating: 9 / 10



Editor's Letter

The 39th Uncut Playlist Of 2014

A lot to get through here, but I'm indebted once more to the resource that is, who this week have posted two amazing live sets by Steve Gunn and Ryley Walker. Elsewhere, there's a new Waterboys track to check out,...