Ramones – Questioningly

• “Questioningly” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Ramones Music.

8.0 “Fantastic Pop from the USA”

From their album “Road To Ruin” (Sire SRK-6063) released in 1978.

I finally picked up my two missing 70s Ramones albums this year, one of which was “Road To Ruin”. “I Wanna Be Sedated” is clearly the top dog here, but (you know the drill by now) I already had that via compiles etc. so it’s ineligible for this blog. “Questioningly” was a big surprise. Never let it be said da bruddas were one-trick ponies! My album review:

The fourth Ramones already? They didn’t hang about in any way whatsoever, that’s for sure. “Road To Ruin” isn’t as strong as the preceding three, but that’s a relative complaint, for there is much to love and cherish within. There had been a personnel change since “Rocket To Russia”, with Tommy deciding to give up the drumsticks, citing stress at the relentless touring and frustration at the lack of commercial success. His new role was to sit in the producers’ chair, and his place in the band was taken by Marky Ramone. Just how many brothers did Johnny have? As good and solid as it is, there are none of the stone-classics that we’ve come to expect from the Ramones on side 1, but side 2 makes up for it some. Reflecting further on the stress that they were under at this time, there was a great quote attributed to Joey, made after a show in London, when he told manager Linda Stein: “Put me in a wheelchair and get me on a plane before I go insane.” Knowing this, a whole new light is shone upon the ever-mighty “I Wanna Be Sedated” which opens up side 2. It’s the quintessential Ramones song is it not? There’s a fantastic step away from the pop-punk template with the country-fused pop of “Questioningly”, fuelled with the classic themes of that genre; namely failing relationships and heartbreak. As if apologising to the hardcore brigade, “Bad Brain” reminds that they can thrash it hard and fast with the best of ‘em. I find this mixing-up very welcome, they should do more of it. Alas, the pop concessions did them no favours as Tommy relates: “Road to Ruin was a flop Stateside, even though it had been a very deliberate attempt to secure American radioplay.” What terrible taste the general public has…

You can read the rest of my favoured album reviews from ’78 here.

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