Ramones – The Sire Years: 1976-1989 (2013/2014) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Ramones – The Sire Years: 1976-1989 (2013/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 6:00:06 minutes | 14,2 GB | Genre: Punk, Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front covers |  © Rhino/Warner Bros.

Explore the incomparable footprint of the Ramones’ musical legacy with a boxed set featuring the band’s seminal albums. With the 1976 release of their debut album, the Ramones issued a manifesto with their groundbreaking sound, inspiring countless others to pick up guitars and rock. Formed in the Forest Hills section of Queens, NY in 1974, the Ramones were completely original, forgoing a whole new sound and direction for music and giving birth to punk.

Ramones – Ramones (1976/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 29:05 minutes | 1,18 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

With the three-chord assault of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” The Ramones begins at a blinding speed and never once over the course of its 14 songs does it let up. The Ramones is all about speed, hooks, stupidity, and simplicity. The songs are imaginative reductions of early rock & roll, girl group pop, and surf rock. Not only is the music boiled down to its essentials, but the Ramones offer a twisted, comical take on pop culture with their lyrics, whether it’s the horror schlock of “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement,” the gleeful violence of “Beat on the Brat,” or the maniacal stupidity of “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.” And the cover of Chris Montez’s “Let’s Dance” isn’t a throwaway — with its single-minded beat and lyrics, it encapsulates everything the group loves about pre-Beatles rock & roll. They don’t alter the structure, or the intent, of the song, they simply make it louder and faster. And that’s the key to all of the Ramones’ music — it’s simple rock & roll, played simply, loud, and very, very fast. None of the songs clock in at any longer than two and half minutes, and most are considerably shorter. In comparison to some of the music the album inspired, The Ramones sounds a little tame — it’s a little too clean, and compared to their insanely fast live albums, it even sounds a little slow — but there’s no denying that it still sounds brilliantly fresh and intoxicatingly fun.

01 – Blitzkrieg Bop
02 – Beat On The Brat
03 – Judy Is A Punk
04 – I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
05 – Chain Saw
06 – Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
07 – I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement
08 – Loudmouth
09 – Havana Affair
10 – Listen To My Heart
11 – 53rd & 3rd
12 – Let’s Dance
13 – I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You
14 – Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World

Ramones – Leave Home (1977/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 30:59 minutes | 1,37 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

Of course the Ramones’ second album, Leave Home, is simply more of the same — 14 songs, including one oldie (“California Sun”), delivered at breakneck speed and concluding in under a half-hour. the Ramones have gotten slightly poppier, occasionally delivering songs like “I Remember You” that are cloaked neither in irony nor seedy rock & roll chic. Still, the biggest impressions are made by the cuts that strongly recall the debut, whether it’s the ersatz Beach Boys of “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” the singalong of “Pinhead,” or the warped anthems “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” and “Commando.” Song for song, it’s slightly weaker than its predecessor, but the handful of mediocre cuts speed by so fast that you don’t really notice its weaknesses until after it’s all over.

01 – Glad To See You Go
02 – Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
03 – I Remember You
04 – Oh Oh I Love Her So
05 – Carbona Not Glue
06 – Suzy Is A Headbanger
07 – Pinhead
08 – Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy
09 – Swallow My Pride
10 – What’s Your Game
11 – California Sun
12 – Commando
13 – You’re Gonna Kill That Girl
14 – You Should Have Never Opened That Door

Ramones – Rocket To Russia (1977/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 31:56 minutes | 1,4 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

The Ramones provided the blueprint and Leave Home duplicated it with lesser results, but the Ramones’ third album, Rocket to Russia, perfected it. Rocket to Russia boasts a cleaner production than its predecessors, which only gives the Ramones’ music more force. It helps that the group wrote its finest set of songs for the album. From the mindless, bopping opening of “Cretin Hop” and “Rockaway Beach” to the urban surf rock of “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” and the ridiculous anthem “Teenage Lobotomy,” the songs are teeming with irresistibly catchy hooks; even their choice of covers, “Do You Want to Dance?” and “Surfin’ Bird,” provide more hooks than usual. the Ramones also branch out slightly, adding ballads to the mix. Even with these (relatively) slower songs, the speed of the album never decreases. However, the abundance of hooks and slight variety in tempos makes Rocket to Russia the Ramones’ most listenable and enjoyable album — it doesn’t have the revolutionary impact of The Ramones, but it’s a better album and one of the finest records of the late ’70s.

01 – Cretin Hop
02 – Rockaway Beach
03 – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
04 – Locket Love
05 – I Don’t Care
06 – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
07 – We’re A Happy Family
08 – Teenage Lobotomy
09 – Do You Wanna Dance
10 – I Wanna Be Well
11 – I Can’t Give You Anything
12 – Ramona
13 – Surfin’ Bird
14 – Why Is It Always This Way

Ramones – Road To Ruin (1978/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 31:14 minutes | 1,32 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

The loud-and-fast, campy-and-catchy formula began to wear a little thin by the time of the Ramones’ fourth album, Road to Ruin. Following the exact same blueprint as its three predecessors, Road to Ruin simply doesn’t yield the same results as the other records. In part, it’s because the band sounds a little forced on the harder numbers, but the main problem lies with the undistinguished material. “I Wanna Be Sedated” is a classic, and “Questioningly” proves that the Ramones are just as effective when they slow the tempo down, yet much of the record sounds like the Ramones trying to give the people what they want. Since they were still in their prime, such nondescript material sounds good, but the record has neither the exuberant energy or abundant hooks of Ramones and Rocket to Russia, and it’s the first suggestion that the Ramones may have painted themselves into a corner.

01 – I Just Want To Have Something To Do
02 – I Wanted Everything
03 – Don’t Come Close
04 – I Don’t Want You
05 – Needles and Pins
06 – I’m Against It
07 – I Wanna Be Sedated
08 – Go Mental
09 – Questioningly
10 – She’s the One
11 – Bad Brain
12 – It’s A Long Way Back

Ramones – End Of The Century (1980/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 34:26 minutes | 1,51 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

Road to Ruin found the Ramones stretching their signature sound to its limits; even though there were several fine moments, nearly all of them arrived when the group broke free from the suddenly restrictive loud-fast-hard formula of their first records. Considering that the Ramones did desire mainstream success and that they had a deep love for early-’60s pop/rock, it’s not surprising that they decided to shake loose the constrictions of their style by making an unabashed pop album, yet it was odd that Phil Spector produced End of the Century, because his painstaking working methods seemingly clashed with the Ramones’ instinctual approach. However, the Ramones were always more clever than they appeared, so the matching actually worked better than it could have. Spector’s detailed production helped bring “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” and “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” to life, yet it also kept some of the punkier numbers in check. Even so, End of the Century is more enjoyable than its predecessor, since the record has stronger material, and in retrospect, it’s one of their better records of the ’80s.

01 – Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio?
02 – I’m Affected
03 – Danny Says
04 – Chinese Rock
05 – The Return Of Jackie And Judy
06 – Let’s Go
07 – Baby, I Love You
08 – I Can’t Make It On Time
09 – This Ain’t Havana
10 – Rock ‘N’ Roll High School
11 – All The Way
12 – High Risk Insurance

Ramones – Pleasant Dreams (1981/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 34:57 minutes | 1,52 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

End of the Century didn’t make the Ramones into the stars they so wanted to be, so they hooked up with another ’60s icon, Graham Gouldman, for its follow-up, Pleasant Dreams. Oddly, Gouldman directs the band away from their bubblegum, British Invasion, and surf fetishes toward acid rock and heavy metal. They still manage to squeak out a couple of irresistibly catchy songs, but the production is too clean to qualify as punk, and the music itself has lost sight of the infectious qualities that made their earlier records such fun. Yet those flaws seem endearing compared to the metallic meanderings of their late-’80s records.

01 – We Want The Airwaves
02 – All’s Quiet On The Eastern Front
03 – The KKK Took My Baby Away
04 – Don’t Go
05 – You Sound Like Your Sick
06 – It’s Not My Place (In The 9 to 5 World)
07 – She’s A Sensation
08 – 7-11
09 – You Didn’t Mean Anything To Me
10 – Come On Now
11 – This Business Is Killing Me
12 – Sitting In My Room

Ramones – Subterranean Jungle (1983/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 33:30 minutes | 1,42 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

Tentatively returning toward punk, or at least new wave, the Ramones turned in their most enjoyable record since Rocket to Russia with Subterranean Jungle. Producers Ritchie Cordell and Glen Kolotkin were the heads of the edgy power pop and punk label Bomp!, so they steered the Ramones back toward the ’60s pop infatuation that provided the foundation for their early records. It’s a strategy that pays off well — for the most part, the group’s originals are so punchy and catchy that they make the pair of covers superfluous. Comprised of a set of unabashedly hook-laden songs and driven by more subtle rhythms, Subterranean Jungle may not be a punk record in the strictest sense of the word, yet the Ramones haven’t sounded quite as alive in a long, long while.

01 – Little Bit O’ Soul
02 – I Need Your Love
03 – Outsider
04 – What’d Ya Do?
05 – Highest Trails Above
06 – Somebody Like Me
07 – Psycho Therapy
08 – Time Has Come Today
09 – My My Kind Of Girl
10 – In The Park
11 – Time Bomb
12 – Everytime I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me Think Of You

Ramones – Too Tough To Die (1984/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 36:31 minutes | 1,53 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

With the Ramones’ original drummer, Tommy Erdelyi, producing, the group returns to simple, scathing punk rock on Too Tough to Die. The group takes the big guitar riffs of Subterranean Jungle and makes them shorter and heavier. the Ramones’ rhythms are back up to jackhammer speed and the songs are down to short, terse statements. The results read like a reaction to hardcore punk, but the Ramones are more melodic than any hardcore band, as well as smarter than most. Apart from the occasional foray into pop, such as the surprisingly effective Dave Stewart-produced “Howling at the Moon,” the album is a sterling set of lethal punk, the best the Ramones had made since the end of the ’70s. It was also the last great record they would ever make.

01 – Mama’s Boy
02 – I’m Not Afraid Of Life
03 – Too Tough To Die
04 – Durango 95
05 – Wart Hog
06 – Danger Zone
07 – Chasing The Night
08 – Howling At The Moon (Sha-La-La)
09 – Daytime Dilemma
10 – Planet Earth 1988
11 – Human Kind
12 – Endless Vacation
13 – No Go

Ramones – Animal Boy (1986/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 32:13 minutes | 1,36 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

Animal Boy wasn’t a very happy record for the Ramones. Since the release of Too Tough to Die (a slight return to form) nearly two years earlier, the band’s fortunes had gone from bad to worse; interest in the band kept dwindling with every release and the “bruthas” were constantly at each other’s throat. But their desperation only became apparent when they started seriously altering their sound in search of a lucky break. With Animal Boy, producer Jean Beauvoir (of Plasmatics infamy) attempted to update the band’s sound with the commercial conventions of the day, meaning keyboards and synthesizers. Opener “Somebody Put Something in My Drink,” for instance, wastes an aggressive vocal performance from Joey Ramone by supporting it with a shamelessly polished synthesizer backing track. The balls-out title song momentarily simplifies things once again, but the album continues to progress in hit-and-miss fashion, culminating with the unbearably soft “Something to Believe In” — with bright synths taking over completely and no guitar in sight, it is a career low. Of note, the album does contain one of the band’s most clearly political statements in first single “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” written about President Ronald Reagan’s ill-advised visit to Germany’s Bitburg cemetery, the site of many Nazi graves. Interestingly, the song was later retitled “My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down” prior to the album’s release, after vehement protests from guitarist Johnny Ramone, a fervid conservative. One of many mid-’80s blunders, Animal Boy is best left forgotten from the Ramones’ otherwise remarkable late-’70s legacy.

01 – Somebody Put Something In My Drink
02 – Animal Boy
03 – Love Kills
04 – Apeman Hop
05 – She Belongs To Me
06 – Crummy Stuff
07 – Bonzo Goes To Bitburg
08 – Mental Hell
09 – Eat That Rat
10 – Freak Of Nature
11 – Hair Of The Dog
12 – Something To Believe In
Please Note: All tracks on this album were recorded at 44k, mastered at 192/24.

Ramones – Halfway To Sanity (1987/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 30:11 minutes | 1,32 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

Although Halfway to Sanity still bears remnants of the heavy guitar attack of Animal Boy, it’s actually a much sharper record than its predecessor, since it doesn’t ignore the Ramones’ trashy pop roots. There’s still a noticeable lack of consistent material, yet cuts like “Go Lil’ Camaro Go” and “I Know Better Now” have solid hooks, and a handful of other songs suggest that the Ramones could have handled their second decade a little more gracefully than they actually did. It may not be as strong as Subterranean Jungle or Too Tough to Die, but in many ways, Halfway to Sanity is the last time the Ramones still sounded like they mattered.

01 – I Wanna Live
02 – Bop ‘Til You Drop
03 – Garden Of Serenity
04 – Weasel Face
05 – Go Lil Camaro Go
06 – I Know Better Now
07 – Death Of Me
08 – I Lost My Mind
09 – A Real Cool Time
10 – I’m Not Jesus
11 – Bye Bye Baby
12 – Worm Man

Ramones – Brain Drain (1989/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 35:06 minutes | 254 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

Though it contains one of the Ramones’ biggest radio hits, “Pet Sematary” (written for Stephen King’s movie of the same name), 1989’s Brain Drain finds the “bruthas” from Queens at an all-time inspirational low. And since the aforementioned track is actually reviled by most of the band’s hardcore fans, the listener has to make do with opener “I Believe in Miracles” and closer “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight),” which bookend the amazingly dull tracks in between with the record’s only bright moments. The final Ramones album recorded for Sire Records (their label from day one), Brain Drain was sadly also the last to feature bassist and creative leader Dee Dee Ramone.

01 – I Believe In Miracles
02 – Zero Zero UFO
03 – Don’t Bust My Chops
04 – Punishment Fits The Crime
05 – All Screwed Up
06 – Palisades Park
07 – Pet Sematary
08 – Learn To Listen
09 – Can’t Get You Outta My Mind
10 – Ignorance Is Bliss
11 – Come Back, Baby
12 – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight) [Single Version]



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