Top 102 Albums⁺ No 35
It's Alive - Ramones
"Dee Dee he did a job on me
Now I am a real sickie"
I know, I know. Another live album. Against the rules. The quotes wrong. But (Gabba Gabba) Hey! These are The Ramones and if they'd listened to the rules you wouldn't be reading this.
Each of their first three Ramones albums is magnificent and I couldn't decide which to go with. This takes from all three and is the one I go back to most. With The Ramones the faster the better and the live adrenaline drives these even faster than the studio versions.
A double album, It's Alive seemed (and still seems) impossibly dense with pop-punk classics. This is what happens when you mix The Beach Boys with Slade ("I spent most of the early 70s listening to Slade Alive! thinking to myself, "Wow – this is what I want to do. I want to make that kind of intensity for myself. A couple of years later I was at CBGB's doing my best Noddy Holder." - Joey Ramone) and run the result at 45rpm instead of 33. With lyrics by a teenage Lenny Bruce. That's how good they were. Just listen.
"Daddy's telling lies
Baby's eating flies
Mommy's on pills
Baby's got the chills"
Despite being the best approximation to date of real live cartoon characters The Ramones manage to project a sense of how difficult life is on the margins of society while bringing a smile to your face. Masterpieces of concision their songs show that you only need three lines to go with those three chords. Music and songs stripped down to their essentials. Essential.
Counting to four has never sounded so cool. They could even count to eight sometimes. Or almost.
Cretins wanna hop some more
All good cretins go to heaven"