KEPI GHOULIE: Ramones in Love: LP

May 15, 2023

LONG FORM: With a couple of exceptions, I’ve never really had any special affinity for the Ramones’ slower material (I do love “Questioningly” for some reason, and “Babysitter”). Those songs always felt like things I was required to patiently sit through in order to get my hands on better, faster songs, not something I’d generally listen to by choice. My thinking on the matter was that the Beatles put “This Boy” third on the first side of Meet the Beatles, and that record sold a quad-gazillion copies, so “slow song at-or-just-before the midpoint of side one” became some kinda standard industry trope that the Ramones obediently followed in their naïve/doomed quest for superstardom, a state of being I can essentially take or leave. That said, Kepi’s concept of covering the mildest-sauced Taco Tunes from the Ramones catalog acoustically is a pretty righteous idea, the kind of glorious brainfart that a generation or two of Ramones worshippers should be kicking themselves over for not thinking up themselves (there is precedent: A 1980 U.K.-only EP, Meltdown with the Ramones, featured mostly slower numbers). While stripping Ramones tunes down to their minimalist essence of acoustic guitar and vocals is a solid approach, I’m not sure what the bass adds to this record. It seems to obscure the minimalist aspect of things, without really compensating for the lack of percussion. I think I woulda preferred just Kepi and his guitar, but I lack a certain romance, so who cares what I think? SHORT FORM: The make-out record of the year! BEST SONG: “Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La).” The record is at its best when it strips away the most. BEST SONG TITLE: “Questioningly,” Scrabble points galore! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Does not contain “Babysitter.” –Rev. Nørb (Pirates Press, piratespressrecords.com)

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