Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: My review of "...Ya know?"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My review of "...Ya know?"

Joey Ramone still lives. And right now he at least feels very alive and well. 


I am very excited about the release of "..Ya Know?", Joey Ramone's new album. We haven't had any new material from our favorite Ramone in over a decade. Joey was recording an album when he died in 2001 in Easter Sunday of Lymphoma. That material was released on the album "Don't worry about me." Come to find out just a couple of years ago, Joey had a lot more recordings lying around than originally thought. For the past year, Joey's bro, who produced "...Ya Know?" said he was doing everything he could, and would get this album out even if it killed him. Well, the album was released and thankfully, Mickey is still with us.

A new album from a rock star who has passed it bitter sweet. Sweet because we have all this new music to listen to, a little window into the artists mind, and all these new songs to turn into ear worms, bitter because we have the knowledge of carrying on doing all of this without him. Joey's new album has stirred up a lot of emotions for me, both excited and sad. I didn't know much of what to expect with this new album, expect the ever familiar voice of the Godfather of punk. "...Ya  Know?" is surprisingly complex piece of work, with twists in turns I didn't expect. Segments were confusing pills to swallow, but like actual real life medicine, I feel like I am better for taking it.

The album begins with my favorite track (it's no secret) 1) "Rock and roll is the answer". This track was released streaming on Rolling Stone and Joey Ramone's official site. The single was released on April 21st, Record Store Day, and I bought a copy asap. Being a true lover of rock and roll, this quickly became my new anthem.
 >>>Listen to the song here.

2) "Going Nowhere Fast" I feel like the first two tracks are good at easing you in because they sound very "Ramonesy." They sound like they could be off of one of the Ramones albums in the early 90's.
 >>>Listen to the song here.

3) "New York City" I fell in love with this song right away when I heard it on Little Steven's Underground Garage. They were also playing it on Manitoba's radio show. Right at this time I was visiting New York, so the timing couldn't have been better. This song is quintessentially Joey, as he made no secret of his love for where he came from. When I think of this song I picture Micky Leigh on stage with Tish, Snookie, and several New York Fire Fighters rocking out. That image to me makes so much sense. Ends with Subway sounds, neaaaaat.
 >>>Listen to the song here.

4) "Waiting For That Railroad" This is the song where the water works begin. "Waiting for that railroad" was released before on the internet...but only in a very raw sounding demo version. Well, here is the spiffed up version. What can I say? It's a beautiful song. So beautiful, it almost sounds like wedding music (walking down the isle). I can picture this off beat, Ramones loving couple turning this into their song.
 >>>Listen to the song here.

5) "I Couldn't Sleep" Right before you you are about to cry from the emotion of the last track (if you aren't already) this fun beat cuts in and saves you. "I couldn't sleep" also sounds very "Ramonesy", but oh so Joey! And by that I mean it oozes with his old school music taste. It's VERY rock and roll! My friends seem to favor this track the most.
 >>>Listen to the song here.

6) "What Did I Do To Deserve You?" This track might have some of the best examples of Joey's 'signature vocals.' Just the way he sings and holds onto his words. I feel like I'm starting to hear the synth coming through relatively prominently?
 >>>Listen to the song here.


7) "Seven Days Of Gloom" The interesting thing to me that sticks out about this album is it seems kind of "dated." I don't mean this in a bad way, but I feel like you can hear what period of time he was writing this music. It really makes me think of the late 90's, which was right when he was jotting down these songs. They came through with the music composed around it as well. Not to mention, just the title and chanting of "I'll never be happy...naaa naaa na naaa" is very reminiscent of the angst-filled 90's.
 >>>Listen to the song here.


8) "Eyes Of Green" is a fun song that kind of reminds me of something that would have been on "Don't worry about me." Also, I find it peculiar because of the lyrics. Joey often sings about love and being in love and being loyal, but in this song Joey sings "I want you, you know that I do. But I got a little girl a home. And she really, really digs me." Uh oh Joey! Kinda reminds me of The Monkees "Look out here comes tomorrow."
 >>>Listen to the song here.


9) "Party Line" Clearly from the first drum beat this song is inspired by the 50's girl group sound, most notably The Ronnettes. What can I say, a very Joey song! I enjoy the backing female vocals, which seem to make the song even more moving over all. It has a long lost love at prom feel.
 >>>Listen to the song here.


10) "Merry Christmas" This song reminds me of The Beatles "Free as a bird" for some reason. It's a slower version of the previously released "Merry Christmas (I don't wanna fight tonight)."
>>>Listen to the song here.


11) "21st Century Girl" I quite like this song which sounds pretty fresh in comparison to the few tracks that seem very reminiscent of the late 90's. Joan Jett plays guitar and backing vocals on this song. Mickey, the album's producer, was able to get a lot of amazing folks to help with this record. Note: You can hear Joan Jett saying "One, two, three, owwww!" at the beginning of the track.
>>>Listen to the song here.


12) "There's Got To Be More To Life" This track is both very Joey and a little too synthesized at certain points. (It REALLY sounds like "I got knocked down"). I just want to specify that I don't expect Joey's music to always sound the same. I totally understand also that evolving on some level in very important. But I feel like the use of the auto tune is a little liberal an un-needed. Joey doesn't need it. Then again, I am not a producer, or a professional in any way. I am just a hardcore music fans who pays a lot of attention and listens closely.
>>>Listen to the song here.


13) "Make Me Tremble" "Sitting on a mushroom out in the woods, I say now baby, baby, you make me feel good" is the opening line to this adorable song. It starts acoustic but turns almost tropical. This song was previously released, but only as a raw form demo.
>>>Listen to the song here.


14)  "Cabin Fever" Here was the twist I was telling you about. For the first few seconds this song hits my ears I wonder if I am still listening to the same album. *Double checks* Yep. It's Joey's vocals over this tune which is nothing like anything he or The Ramones has ever done. It's pretty hard rock, almost sounds like 90's alternative rock. It some ways it sounds like a genre of music that hasn't even been defined yet. Talk about a departure from our three chord punk. I find "Cabin Fever" facinsating because it's a weird tasting pill to swallow. I have this middle groove feeling where I don't love it, but I don't hate it, and oddly enough...it's growing on me. So much so it could almost beat out "Rock and roll is the answer" for my favorite track. The song ends with wind chimes, to add more confusion if you will. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's very whimsical and just very different from what I'm used to.
>>>Listen to the song here.


15) "Life's A Gas" One of my favorite Ramones songs but done acoustically. This track ends about half way through, and again, with wind chimes. This was the song that probably had the biggest use of auto tune, which again, I don't understand. All else aside, it is a beautiful song with meaningful lyrics.
>>>Listen to the song here.

All in all, I would give this album a 4 out of 5.
Is it worth buying? Yes!
Would I recommend it? Yes!
Great songs, fun, moving and memorable. Great talent is on this album, proof!
My only complaint: Why the auto tune?

1 comment :

Yoel Ben Avrohom said...

בס״ד

Yay, Joey!

I liked Cabin Fever, a lot. It has a slow, doomy feel and a heavy, haunting melody. Heck, I like the entire album.

Joey's yahrzeit is the 8th day of Pesach, in case anyone cares to know.

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