Tag Archives: criticism

Vol.32: Joey Ramone Wanted to be in a ’50s Girl Group (Ramones’ “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?”)

ramones do you remember rock 'n' roll radio sire single cover punk phil spector

The Ramones holding the actual instruments they played on the track.

Ramones – Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio? (1980, Sire)

Why It’s Perfect: Recalling the recording of the Ramones’ legendary Sheena is a Punk Rocker single in Greg Milner’s book Perfecting Sound Forever, popular ‘70s record producer Tony Bongiovi was adamant that the faint timpani he insisted be included in the chorus was some sort of watershed for the band. Now, it’s easy enough to dismiss the word of Jon Bon fucking Jovi’s cousin, even if you’re among the infinitesimal fraction of listeners whose first takeaway from Sheena was “Hey, nice timpani,” but maybe he had a point. We’re used to reckoning the Ramones’ musical evolution in geologic time, but by the end of the seventies/century, band leader Joey Ramone had become much more interested in the recording studio, even hooking up with mad Wall of Sound genius Phil Spector for 1980’s divisive End of the Century.

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Filed under 1980s, punk, rock n' roll, Wall of Sound

Vol.31: Does “Good” Music Matter? (Better Than Ezra – “Good”)

better than ezra grunge alternative rock '90s good

Wait, Better Than Ezra had a black guy?

Better Than Ezra were a stunningly bad band. When you think of the most witless, gormless, reheated alternative rock of the mid-‘90s, Better Than Ezra elbow their way to the head of the queue with aplomb. Their playing is edgeless, featureless. Their lyrics are fresh from a high school creative writing workshop. The way they namedrop R.E.M. in the chorus of this dreadful song makes me understand why so many people started to hate that band. But I’ve reached a point in my thinking about music where I wonder if I don’t have to burn away the last of my taste prejudices. For people who think thinking seriously about music is a relatively serious matter, the current critical milieu is one in which we begin to deny the fantasy of objective judgement of popular art. It gets somewhat less pretentious from here!

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Filed under 1990s, alternative, grunge, hard rock