Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ramones: Ramones [Sire, 1976]
I love this record--love it--even though I know these boys flirt with images of brutality (Nazi especially) in much the same way "Midnight Rambler" flirts with rape. You couldn't say they condone any nasties, natch--they merely suggest that the power of their music has some fairly ominous sources and tap those sources even as they offer the suggestion. This makes me uneasy. But my theory has always been that good rock and roll should damn well make you uneasy, and the sheer pleasure of this stuff--which of course elicits howls of pain from the good old rock and roll crowd--is undeniable. For me, it blows everything else off the radio: it's clean the way the Dolls never were, sprightly the way the Velvets never were, and just plain listenable the way Black Sabbath never was. And I hear it cost $6400 to put on plastic. A