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"Forgotten" Ramones album contains a few gems
on 19 December 2000
If there was such a thing as a forgotten Ramones album, it would be this. Not one which tops any da brudders fans' "best of" polls of Ramones albums, Halfway to Sanity nevertheless contains a few gems - though it is also patchy and downright contradictory in places.
Kicking off defiantly with "I Wanna Live", the Ramones 10th studio album quickly hits its stride. Side one never lets up the pace - Joey's unique tones perfectly complemented all the way through by Johnny's trademark punk-guitar delivery. However, the brudder with the greatest influence is Dee Dee, who takes songwriting credit for most of the songs. The ultracore "I lost My Mind" (on which Dee Dee also takes on the vocals) and "I'm Not Jesus" are stunning. By contrast, Joey's more pop orientated pieces such as "Real Cool Time" and "Bye Bye Baby" disappoint somewhat. "Death of Me" seems to hint at a Ramones middle-age crisis as Joey feels that too many late nights and the morning after are taking their toll. Brighter spots are when NY bosom buddy Debbie Harry lends a welcome vocal or two on "Go lil Camaro Go" and the album finishes strongly with "Worm Man" - though the final refrain of "I Wish I was Dead, I Wish I was Dead" seems a complete contradiction of the opening track.
Not a "Rocket to Russia" by any means - but the Ramones average albums are still better than most peoples' best.