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Like most true originals, the Ramones embodied a dizzying array of contradictions. As punk godfathers, they became the archetype for a rebellious musical ethos that could often confuse the baby for the bath water, yet at heart they were 1960s pop-and-bubblegum-worshipping reactionaries. The seeming unity symbolised by their street-hood uniform (ripped jeans, deck shoes and black leather jackets) and name (nicked from an early nom de plume of Beatle Paul) masked an underlying turmoil. And the dumber-than-dumb stance of the likes of "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue", "Cretin Hop" and "Teenage Lobotomy" actually masked some of the shrewdest rock ever recorded. If the two discs of the anthology Hey Ho Let's Go!
seem like hardly enough room to document a band with a quarter-century legacy, it's good to remember that the Ramones prided themselves on stripping every song they attempted to its elemental core, then halving it again with their patented buzz saw, double-stop tempo. The nearly five dozen tracks here, reaching from the early 1970s to the late 1990s, stand remarkably outside of time--just like true originals. --Jerry McCulley