I originally purchased this on CD and (not that I'm an audiophile) was so dissatisfied with the remastering (or lack thereof) that I tracked down a copy on vinyl. While the CD version is tinny and flat, the vinyl version is warm, deep, and organic. Ahhh, analogâ¦
To stifle the pitchforks and rotten tomatoes, I'll tell you why this isn't a perfect album first. Simply put, songs like "Lay It Down Clown" are outrageously fun and "Dose Of Thunder" is pleasing to listen to but they are obvious filler that go absolutely nowhere and are low points for the generally stellar songwriting. Overall, the mood of this record is much more laid back with toned down solos, this being the last record to feature Bob Stinson on lead guitar before being kicked out of the group. Uhhh, and the artwork is God-awfulâ¦okay, I'm just joking about that, but seriously, I would give this a 9.5 if I could.
The band goes through many styles on this record, from the rockabilly of "Waitress In The Sky" to the pop of "Kiss Me On The Bus." Tommy Stinson has fantastic bass tone and plays very emotionally while the two guitar players are a very abrasive contrast. However, they do know when to warm their tone and play soulfully on songs like "Swingin Party." Also, for what it's worth, original Ramones drummer Tommy Erdelyi produced this record and Big Star crooner and Paul Westerberg's idol Alex Chilton makes a vocal appearance on "Left Of The Dial." I'll high five to that.
So, this band rocks and the melodies and vocals are great and all, but the obvious standout is the strength in the songwriting. If I could, I'd simply cut and paste the lyrics and let them do the talking for this review. Sometimes the lyrics are childishly simple and honest like on "Kiss Me On The Bus:"
Kiss me on the busAnd other times they are deeply personal as in "Bastards of Young:"
If you knew how I felt now
You wouldn't act so adult now
Hurry, hurry, here comes my stop
The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to restYou also get a killer closing acoustic ballad. Bonus! I am obviously too uninformed and young to cover a record of this magnitude, importance, and influence but if this review causes a few people who otherwise would have never given the record a glimpse to take a moment to read the lyrics and listen then I think it's all good.
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The CD version gets an 8.
The vinyl version gets a 9.