It was a bit tough listening to this, the last studio album the Ramones will ever release. I’ve been living in a little bubble of denial for years now, avoiding buying this or listening to any of it, as if my ignoring it would change the fact that one of my favorite bands of all time is now but a beer-soaked memory. But you gotta face everything sooner or later, I guess, and this is as good as any to say goodbye to one of the musical pillars upon which was built my youth and subsequent adulthood. By the time this album hit the stores in 1995, the band members had had about enough of each other. Joey and Johnny hadn’t talked to each other in years, and CJ and Marky had apparently developed a rift of their own (as evidenced in the bonus track, a cover of Motorhead’s “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.,” wherein CJ changes one line to “Marky takes it up the ass”). Still, they managed to crank out one last album of new tunes. Some really good work is put down here—a cover of Tom Waits’ “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” the bittersweet (and evermore poignant considering he lost his battle with cancer a few years after this was released) Joey-penned “Life’s a Gas,” “Scattergun,” and “Making Monsters of My Friends”—and CJ gets even more involved in the proceedings, penning a couple and singing roughly half the songs on the album. While it may not be the greatest album they ever recorded, it is one of the better ones of the latter period of their run, and definitely a nice way for them to head noisily off into the sunset. I loved ‘em and I will truly miss ‘em.
–jimmy (Captain Oi)