Picture of Ramones

Road To Ruin

©1978 Sire
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
9. Questioningly
10. She's the One
11. Bad Brain
12. It's A Long Way Back

Like Black Sabbath, the Ramones are one of those bands who often get the "man, their first four albums were great!" treatment by fans, which of course is a general dismissal of the rest of their career following album number four. The Ramones did indeed generally have their career prime during the quick years between 1976 and 1979, releasing four rather good and obviously incredibly influential albums (the self titled debut, Leave Home, Rocket to Russia and this here Road to Ruin). And the general consensus of most fans is that much of the studio material past this point is hit or miss, with the emphasis on miss. I'd wager that Road to Ruin was the start of the "miss" segment of their category, although when the Ramones hit on Road to Ruin, they utterly knocked it out of the park.

Road to Ruin was the first record featuring Marky Ramone on drums after Tommy had retired to the producer's chair. Marky fit right into the groove from the get go. The Ramones were not scared to show their sixties pop roots and as a result the songs here generally feature snappy hooks and pop structures. The album features their best known hit ("I Wanna Be Sedated") and a few others that are as good as any Ramones song you'll find on any record ("I'm Against It" and "I Wanted Everything" come to mind). However, there are a couple of serious blunders on here. "Needles and Pins" is instantly grating with its softer approach and "Questioningly" has me questioning what went into the thought process in even writing that song. "Don't Come Close" straddles the fence between a loving tribute to their favorite pop tunes of the past and just being wretched. Needless to say, there are more than a few songs on here that I simply can't sit through, despite their short running times.

This album contains a good amount of some of the finest Ramones material as well as the beginning of the era of mediocrity that many fans feel spanned the rest of their existence. It certainly is one of those albums that either is red hot or flames right out.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2011

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