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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Review: Weird Tales Of The Ramones CDs and DVD

Why spend $64.95 (or less) for this collection of three cds, one DVD and a comic book? If you're obsessive-compulsive like Joey I can see it, or if this X-Mas you want to dazzle someone who's not familiar with Forest Hills' creme de la scum might do it. Otherwise I'm at a loss to explain the need of another hits package. Johnny Ramone selected the tracks and as a conservative I'm sure he did it only for filthy lucre. Now he's dead and the state is open for smashing by the lumpy proletariat.

The DVD is "Lifestyles Of The Ramones", which came out on VHS years ago. The 3-D comic book is a comic book. I listened to the 3 cd, 86 track set to get a sense of the ebbs and flows of their career as dictated by Johnny. I own every Ramones cd but only really listen to the first five. There's some alternate takes (listed here) but for collectors there's nothing brand new that I know of.

The first four albums comprise their golden years, and the rest, from 1980 to 1995, a series of ups, downs, sideways and verticals. What sticks out most in the latter period are Dee Dee's stabs at hardcore punk, "Warthog" an almost desperate attempt for respect in a HC scene that owed them much but whooshed past many bloody mosh pits ago. Dee Dee's singing, which improved later on, is like an angry, cancer-throated midget's (as I imagine it). I'm surprised I liked CJ's songs as much as I did, and I'm shocked, shocked, that "Touring" from Mondo Bizarro didn't make it.

The Ramones are the single most important band in punk history. And that's that.


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