RAMONES: Brain Drain: CD

As the 1980s came to a close, it seems the brudders had pretty much run out of both steam and ideas, as evidenced by this album, which is eighty percent filler with some true Ramones gems imbedded here and there. The proceedings start off on a high note, with “I Believe in Miracles,” one of the best tracks they managed during Reagan’s tenure. From there, however, it’s a five-song trudge to the next oasis, “Pet Sematary,” written for the Stephen King movie of the same name. Three songs later, up pops one of the thrashers they developed a fondness for writing during the period, “Ignorance Is Bliss,” followed by a rather pedestrian rocker, “Come Back, Baby,” and then it’s over. Ironically, it’s a novelty bonus track tacked onto this reissue, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight),” that provides the most Ramonesy song on the last release to feature three of the four original members. It would’ve been a sad ending, indeed, if this has been their last word, but after this was recorded, Dee Dee was out (although he continued to write for the band right up to the end), CJ was in and the ‘90s were on the horizon.

 –jimmy (Captain Oi)