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Ramones - End of the Century (Cover Artwork)

Ramones

Ramones: End of the CenturyEnd of the Century (1980)
Ramones

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: fallingupwards84fallingupwards84
(others by this writer | submit your own)

End of the Century was the first Ramones album ever that was not perfect. It was bound to happen eventually; four five-star albums in a row is a feat that few, if any, bands have ever accomplished. That's not to say that this album is bad; in fact, the songwriting is arguably on par with the first f.
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End of the Century was the first Ramones album ever that was not perfect. It was bound to happen eventually; four five-star albums in a row is a feat that few, if any, bands have ever accomplished. That's not to say that this album is bad; in fact, the songwriting is arguably on par with the first four records. What kept this album from perfection, however, was primarily out of the band's control -- unless you fault the band for aspiring to write a Top 40 record, which is what they were openly trying to do here.

Phil Spector. So many rumors have emerged in the last couple decades about what exactly happened during the recording of this record. The infamous story of Spector pulling a gun on the band, or forcing Johnny to play the first chord to "Rock 'N' Roll High School" hundreds of times. Joey was a big fan of Spector's earlier work, and he was clearly interested in making a pop record that would appeal to the mainstream. While Spector seemed fascinated by Joey's voice and potential as a pop singer, he reportedly treated the rest of the band as if they didn't matter. Over 20 years later, you could still see the resentment that Johnny had towards Phil in the End of the Century DVD. Dee Dee Ramone was even quoted as saying "I couldn't believe how awful it sounded. It was horrible...I think that some of the worst crap I ever wrote went on that album." So how bad was it, really?

Upon playing the record, you can immediately tell within the first few seconds that this album will sound vastly different than anything we've heard from them before. The very first track, "Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?" includes a synthesizer, saxophone, and piano, ditching the traditional three-chord song structure. It is pulled off surprisingly well, however; its catchiness and `50s pop sound made it into an instant classic. One can't help but notice, however, how incredibly low the guitar is, and this becomes very noticeable by the second track, "I'm Affected" -- a well-written song with some of the worst mixing you've ever heard. Johnny's signature guitar chords are barely audible, leaving the listener nothing but a muffled sound.

This is the story of End of the Century: well-written songs with horrific production, with the key exception being the vocals, as Joey sounds better than ever on this album. Barring the cheesy "Rock 'N' Roll High School" and the cover song "Baby, I Love You" (written by none other than Phil Spector), all the songs on here are gold. Sure, the punk is turned down and the pop turned up, but there are still the simple, catchy power-chord songs reminiscent of the Ramones' earlier days such as "Chinese Rock," "This Ain't Havana" and "The Return of Jackie and Judy," a sequel to the Ramones classic.

Overall, this is still a great album. To fully enjoy it, you just need to get past the hideous production and appreciate the songs for what they are. There are plenty of memorable songs on here that every Ramones fan should cherish, regardless of whether or not you see this album as the turning point for the band.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
theonetruebill (October 4, 2007)

Well yeah, the soundtrack version is undeniably better.

aahhhh (October 4, 2007)

i actually prefer the rock n roll high school soundtrack version of the song to the version on end of the century

fallingupwards84 (October 4, 2007)

8 hours playing the opening chord to "Rock 'n Roll High School". Crazy.

even crazier is that it still sounded like shit

misterspike (October 4, 2007)

In my mind, one of the last fully solid Ramones studio releases. Especially timely review, considering the Phil Spector murder trial was just going on (mistrial -- "Shocking!")

One of the best parts of the End Of The Century DVD is when they discuss the making of this record. Johnny was clearly still bitter, Marky was amazed they got through it, and producer (of later Ramones records) Ed Stasium seemed completely baffled by Spector's behavior throughout the entire process.

8 hours playing the opening chord to "Rock 'n Roll High School". Crazy.

rubyx (October 4, 2007)

Rock'n'Roll High School is amazing. Score is for the song. (1 point off for the PJ Soles version)

housewrecker (October 2, 2007)

Great record and thank you for getting the review before Mr. Scenester : "the first four Ramones records were great and then they sold out..."

BruceLebruce (October 2, 2007)

feedback blasting at my ear makes me so high......all the way rules side 2. who cares about the production. this album only reinforces what a great pop band the ramones were.

aahhhh (October 2, 2007)

good review. the production isnt good, but nowhere near as bad as subterranean jungle

lushj (October 2, 2007)

This is one of my favorite Ramones records, even though it's SO different-sounding.

I don't think "Danny Says" would've turned out as great as it did without Phil Spector. I fully back one album of Wall-Of-Sound-Ramones. If there was more than one, I probably wouldn't be as into it so I'm glad they only did one record with him.

ashtraymonument (October 2, 2007)

haha i love Rock N Roll Radio

JanelleJ (October 2, 2007)

1. Here's to Phil Spector!
2. I love this album. Especially the drum sound. "I'm Affected" is one of their best songs. EVER!

JerryCola (October 2, 2007)

If Mystery Science Theater 3000 was still around Rock N Roll High School would have been a great movie for that show.

fallingupwards84 (October 2, 2007)

is it true that none of the band members except Joey are even in Baby I Love You? i agree, bad song.
as far as Rock 'N' Roll High School, the movie is fun and the lyrics of the song are fun too. i just think its out of place. i would have much preferred I Want You Around on this album instead.

theonetruebill (October 2, 2007)

Oh, and let me just say that I was so relieved that this review wasn't written by the same twit who did the last two. I'm sitting here in my office and let out an audible "oh no" when I saw this at the bottom of the column.

theonetruebill (October 2, 2007)

Baby I Love You is probably the worst song they ever recorded, let's just get that out of the way. Beyond that though, this is really a fantastic album. It took me a little while to get used to the production but there are only a few places where it hurts it, like the re-recorded Rock and Roll High School and Let's Go.

And you really don't like "Rock and Roll High School?" I thought that everyone loved that song, even people who don't really like the Ramones.

branden (October 2, 2007)

i actually like the production on this one, for the most part(this aint havana is a near headache). lots of missteps, but when phil spector gets it right it, its phenomenal. "danny says"? that song sounds fucking GREAT.

fallingupwards84 (October 2, 2007)

Jerry, i'll agree to the extent that by the time you reach the fifth or sixth track, you're so adjusted to the production that it actually doesnt even sound that bad.
Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio should have been HUGE

JerryCola (October 2, 2007)

I decided to listen to this album after reading the review and I still find that the songs are all really good despite the Phil Spector's Wall of Sound production. I mean in all honestly I donít think the production is all that bad, per say, when you look at the album just in itself.

The problem comes when you try to compare the production and the sound of this album to the last four albums from the Ramones, which I donít try to do.

fallingupwards84 (October 2, 2007)

thanks for the input. i thought about that, because you're right that i did trash the production for much of the review. i debated between 7 and 8 stars. however:

in fact, the songwriting is arguably on par with the first four records
considering this statement that i made, and considering my belief that their first four albums were 10 stars, i think the score is suitable. there are some absolutely fantastic songs on here; this could be a 10 star album with good production. i dont think you should punish the band too much for something that was essentially out of their control. i understand what you are saying though.

pretentiouslikepitchfork (October 2, 2007)

so, i don't mean to nitpick because i agree with most that you said here, but how can you give the album the score that you did when you admit the production is hideous. you can't score it on how you hope the songs would sound without the production. that's the biggest problem with this record, good songs mired under a horrible phil spector wall of sound, and it should be scored accordingly. the ramones (well...maybe just joey) went along with it, so they shouldnt' receive a pass because of what they could sound like. sorry, i'm being picky, like i said good review, but the score seems a bit to high for everything that you said.

Toxic_Toast (October 2, 2007)

lol

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