1977, Music

Rocket to Russia (1977) Ramones

What do you do with a band like the Ramones if your a music fan who sees artistic evolution as an essential part of greatness? I have thought about this for years and still never figured it out.

I can say that with a band like the Ramones, who rarely deviate from their formula, whether or not I like them has a lot to do with whether or not I like the sound. And when I was younger, they did nothing for me.

The older I get the more I appreciate their particular innovation, though, and recognize how important they were, something I maybe wasn’t so willing to grant.Their debut album is one of the most important albums ever released, whether or not you like the style of music.

But this third record: what do I do with it? I don’t love the poppy side of punk and it’s also clearly nowhere near as important as their debut for the simple reason that it’s just another Ramones record, and there’s not much difference between many of them.

The distinction here, I would say, is that the songs are rather strong compared to other records. If you listen to their double-disc greatest hits record, tons of the songs from this record are on it, so it seems as though I’m not the only one who feels this way.

And I think that’s enough for me: the set of songs is among the very best. And without much else to differentiate among records outside of the trailblazing debut, this may be their best album if context is ignored. (But, of course, we cannot ignore context.)


All tracks written by the Ramones, except where noted.

  1. “Cretin Hop” 1:55
  2. “Rockaway Beach” 2:06
  3. “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” 2:47
  4. “Locket Love” 2:09
  5. “I Don’t Care” 1:38
  6. “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” 2:49
  7. “We’re a Happy Family” 2:40
  8. “Teenage Lobotomy” 2:00
  9. “Do You Wanna Dance?” by Bobby Freeman 1:52
  10. “I Wanna Be Well” 2:28
  11. “I Can’t Give You Anything” 1:57
  12. “Ramona” 2:35
  13. “Surfin’ Bird” by Carl White, Alfred Frazier, John Harris, Turner Wilson 2:37
  14. “Why Is It Always This Way?” 2:32
  • Joey Ramone – lead vocals
  • Johnny Ramone – guitar
  • Dee Dee Ramone – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Tommy Ramone – drums, producer

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