Reason #324 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Pleasant Dreams

pleasant dreamsTalking about the Ramones is tricky business. You either love ’em, hate ’em, or tolerate ’em, but everyone knows about them. Their detractors will usually say one the following:

They couldn’t play their instruments. They weren’t true punks. All their songs/albums sounded the same.

Answers:

While it may be true that they couldn’t play their instruments when they started, by the time of this album they most definitely could play; more than competently, actually. Not up to ELP or YES standards, but that was always kind of the point. Straightforward songs you could pogo to and, most importantly, could sing along to.The Ramones were never punk. Johnny Ramone was a Far Right Republican, fer Christ’s sake! Joey wanted to be Frankie Valli. Tommy was a entrepreneur Capitalist! Not sure what Dee Dee was. Punk was a label WE bestowed upon these guys. At their core they were a pop band, and a damn good one at that. I suppose all their albums and all their songs sounded the same to some, and I can’t begrudge anyone for thinking that’s the case. It’s like I am with modern day hip hop. Back in da day I could differentiate between bands such as N.W.A, Ice-T and the great Public Enemy. Now these new “artists” all sound the same to me. I just don’t get the appeal, and I guess that’s the way it is with non-Ramones fans as well. You have to get it.

Truth be told Pleasant Dreams is where I got off The Ramones train. I think the band lost its way for a bit there in the ‘80’s, but upon revisiting this particular slab I was really surprised how much I liked it. More so than when it was released. The KKK Took My Baby Away remains one of their best singles, as does She’s A Sensation (I always thought this was a nod to The Who, but I can’t prove it!), and We Want The Airways is the band telling everyone what their plan was all along, and they’re sick of waiting in the wings, dammit!

The rest, to me, is Ramones-By-The-Numbers, but good Ramones-By-The-Numbers. Worth your eartime.

I have been buying up the “Deluxe Editions”, which add some great demos (here they’re just so-so), and I would highly recommend you seek these versions out. They’re extremely cheap, nowadays, and contain terrific liner notes and updated artwork, in this case the original cover art is worth the money alone.

Advertisements