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Every Ramones Albums Ranked

When I agreed to rank the Ramones’ discography, I guess I forgot just how many albums they’d put out. How does one go about ranking fourteen albums by a band when frankly, much of their oeuvre sounds so similar? Well, you could do worse than spending a few days emptying tubes of airplane glue into a paper bag and huffing deeply while repeatedly bingeing their entire discography.

14. ¡Adios Amigos! (1995)

The final Ramones album finds the band limping across the finish line—exhausted, depleted and seemingly short on ideas. Joey hands the mic off to Dee Dee’s replacement C.J. far too often here.

Play It Again: The Tom Waits cover “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” works perfectly when given the Ramones treatment.
Skip It: “The Crusher”, “Makin Monsters for My Friends”, “Scattergun” and “Cretin Family” are all duds sung by C.J.


13. Acid Eaters (1993)

Too sick of each others’ shit to sit down and write songs together, the band recorded a covers album, which is generally as underwhelming as a sitcom clip show. That being said, some interesting choices and decent performances make this worth revisiting once every few years.

Play It Again: “7 and 7 Is”
Skip It: “Journey to the Center of the Mind” is a good song, but fuck Ted Nugent.



12. End of the Century (1980)

For the band’s first earnest bid at mainstream acceptance, they recruited psychotic hitmaking producer Phil Spector. The future convicted murderer pulled a gun on the band during recording, putting them in esteemed company alongside Leonard Cohen and future murder victim John Lennon.

Play It Again: The Dee Dee/Richard Hell classic “Chinese Rock” rescues this album from going completely in the bin.
Skip It: “The Return of Jackie and Judy” for a start.


11. Pleasant Dreams (1981)

The Ramones put out a lot of albums, and this is one of them. A mostly flaccid batch of regressive nostalgic paeans to 50s and 60s rock culture, with a couple of gems shining through. Some sonic experimentation and more complex songwriting add some interest, but not enough.

Play It Again: “The KKK Took My Baby Away”
Skip It: “She’s a Sensation”




10. Animal Boy (1986)

“My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)” is the most stirring, sentimental anthem you’ll ever hear about Reagan visiting Germany. They really ran with the animal theme on this one, with songs such as “Eat That Rat,” “Hair of the Dog,” and “Apeman Hop”.

Play It Again: “Somebody Put Something in My Drink”
Skip It: The goofy sound effects in “Apeman Hop” really drag it down.



9. Halfway to Sanity (1987)

More songs about “bopping” (“Bop Till You Drop”) and wanting things (“I Wanna Live”). Runs the gamut from schmaltzy 50s nostalgia (“Bye Bye Baby”) to flirting with hardcore (“I’m Not Jesus”, which was strangely covered by extreme metal band Behemoth). This is drummer Richie’s last appearance—his brief tenure with the mostly now-deceased band is probably the only reason he’s still alive as of this writing.

Play It Again: “Garden of Serenity” finds Joey pleasantly veering into Danzig crooning territory.
Skip It: “Weasel Face” is a tossed-off novelty song that belongs on the Dr. Demento Show.

8. Too Tough to Die (1984)

As the title implies, this is the boys at their “toughest,” featuring antagonistic songs like “Mama’s Boy” and “Warthog.” Of course, compared to other punk bands, the Ramones’ idea of toughness is pretty tame, sort of like a cute puppy with a switchblade in its mouth.

Play It Again: “Warthog”, their indignant take on snotty British punk.
Skip It: The brief instrumental “Durango 95”, which just sounds like a boilerplate Ramones track they forgot to record vocals for.


7. Brain Drain (1989)

This is Dee Dee’s final album before leaving to reinvent/humiliate himself as rapper Dee Dee King. With their best songwriter gone, the band probably should’ve heeded a warning from the film Pet Sematary: “Sometimes dead is better.” They still had some good songs left in them, but it’s mostly downhill from here.

Play It Again: “Pet Sematary”
Skip It: “Ignorance is Bliss” is the weakest entry on an overall strong album.



6. Mondo Bizarro (1992)

This is an unexpectedly decent release considering all the strife the band endured up to this point, including shifting lineups, addiction, poor sales and mental illness. Packed with more bangers than a British butcher shop, due in part to some super-solid contributions from now ex-Ramone Dee Dee.

Play It Again: “Poison Heart”
Skip It: “Cabbies on Crack”




5. Subterranean Jungle (1983)

It feels like the band said, “Okay, we’re not going to make it big, so we might as well try to have fun.” After their previous two albums failed to garner the band radio hits, the Ramones returned to their earlier punk sound with renewed energy. If I were some kind of lazy hack reviewer I’d say this album finds the band “firing on all cylinders” or some shit.

Play It Again: “Outsider”, one of Dee Dee’s finest.
Skip It: “Somebody Like Me” is a watered-down “Blitzkrieg Bop” redux.


4. Road to Ruin (1978)

By their fourth album, the Ramones weren’t achieving the fame they felt they deserved. Drummer Tommy left in frustration, but the band were fortunate enough to find a replacement named Marky who incredibly shared the surname Ramone as well—what are the chances?

Play It Again: “I Wanna Be Sedated” is an undeniable masterpiece.
Skip It: “Go Mental”



3. Leave Home (1977)

Here the band embarked on their Sisyphussian quest for the breakthrough hit which eluded them for their entire career. “Pinhead”, a song based on the obscure film “Freaks,” proves that some of the first punks were really just weird nerds in leather jackets.

Play It Again: “Commando” for those early gang-vocals on the chorus.
Skip It: “Carbona Not Glue”




2. Rocket to Russia (1977)

Seemingly a conscious effort to recreate the magic of their debut, from the nearly identical cover to the opening “Cretin Hop,” an oblique successor to “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Joey blamed poor sales numbers on being overshadowed by the more sensational, wildly inferior Sex Pistols. Featuring what is possibly the Ramones’ greatest couplet, “Sittin’ here in Queens / eating refried beans.”

Play It Again: “I Wanna Be Well”
Skip It: “Surfin’ Bird.” Throw this on a few times in a row to clear a party at the end of the night.


1. Ramones (1976)

No stunt ranking here—obviously their legendary debut is at number one. The album was recorded with guitar and bass hard-panned left and right, so baby bassists like myself could omit the bass channel and play along, pretending to be Dee Dee (minus the heroin habit).

Play It Again: All of ‘em.
Skip It: If you’re skipping songs on this record, you’re likely a brat who deserves to be beat on with a baseball bat.




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