Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Music Reviews: Joey Ramone - "Ya Know?"

When Joey Ramone died in 2001 from Lymphoma he left behind a musical legacy of which no punk rocker before or since has been able to match. With his band the Ramones he recorded 14 studio albums as well as countless live and best of compilations. In 2002 came Joey's first solo album "Don't Worry About Me", an album he was in the middle of recording at the time of his death. The album was well received by fans and critics alike. And now 10 years later the follow up "Ya Know?" is finally hitting the streets.

The albums 15 tracks here are not just in the vein on old Ramones albums. Joey's able to spread his wings in a way that he wasn't able to with his old band. It's just a shame that he's not here to see how much we love it. The albums first track is also the first single "Rock N Roll Is The Answer". It's a great anthem for today's generation of autotuned garbage, teen pop and hip hop. Let's get back to REAL music! Let's face it, rock n roll IS the answer people! "New York City" is an ode to Joey's hometown. This song has a really cool guitar riff that you're not used to hearing in a song Joey sings. But again, this is Joey branching out in another musical direction. In a complete 180 turn there's the tear jerking ballad "Waiting For That Railroad". This has one of the best vocal performances Joey has ever given. Pure beauty.

The album, produced and arranged by Joey's brother Mickey Leigh, is a labor of love from his family and friends including Andy Shernoff and Richie Ramone who also play on the album. The production is spotless really bringing out the best in Joey's voice, layering tracks when needed and cleaning up the demo's from which these songs originally came from. "Party Line" is another stand out track that features Joan Jett sharing lead vocals with the man himself. This could very well be a hit if released as the second single. Time will tell if this will be the case. Either way, it's a great song.

There are a couple of re-recorded Ramones tracks that appear on this album as well. "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)" is stripped down from the original form and turned into a slow burning torch song with a real 50's style rock n roll feel. Not a bad remake at all. And an all acoustic version of "Life's A Gas" closes out this wonderfully beautiful and breathtaking album by our fallen hero. Joey really loved what he did and he also loved his fans. And we loved him right back. When he sings "don't be sad, cause I'll be there", he meant it. He's with all of us in spirit and in the music he left us. Cherish the music and remember the man behind it. Joey, thanks for all you've given us. We truly miss you.

4 ½ / 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.