RAMONES: Mondo Bizarro: CD

Dunno if it was the arrival on the scene of the young CJ or the promise of a new decade, but after the lackluster Brain Drain, the boys came roaring back with this album to suckerpunch those who began mumbling that maybe the Ramones had reached the end of the road. Like a mirror image of the preceding album, this release is a solid effort, short on filler and long on ball-on rock’n’roll, not to mention some class-A songwriting. Joey offers up the opening salvo, “Censorshit,” a bomb leveled at former Mrs. Vice-President Tipper Gore and her gaggle of Washington wives, the PMRC, who in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s were out to impose limits on free speech under the guise of little “parental advisory” stickers on music releases deemed “objectionable” (in one of history’s great ironies, the stickers actually helped the releases tagged by giving them “taboo” credibility and boosting their sales). From there it’s a veritable grab bag of late-period classics: “The Job that Ate My Brain,” “Poison Heart,” “It’s Gonna Be Alright” (a thank you to their fans), “Main Man,” “Tomorrow She Goes Away,” “Heidi Is a Headcase,” and “Touring,” a nod to both where the band had been, musically and literally, and how they got there. Added on here as a bonus track is their take on the “Spiderman” theme, icing on an already amazing cake.

 –jimmy (Captain Oi)