Brain Drain

Brain Drain

By 1989, The Ramones were in an awkward position. They were punk icons living in the age of hardcore and thrash. Their live shows often featured the band playing harder and faster than necessary, while their albums tried to include hit singles by gently balancing their basic punk attack with their pop instincts. No fewer than three producers—Jean Beauvoir, Bill Laswell, and Daniel Rey—are credited here, and Rey went so far as to cowrite with Dee Dee Ramone on some of the album’s best tracks, including “I Believe in Miracles” and “Pet Sematary.” Joey Ramone held his own, with “Come Back, Baby” and “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” among his contributions. A cover of the 1962 Freddy Cannon hit “Palisades Park” had the right idea. Dee Dee later claimed he didn’t play on the album, which destroyed the notion that the album was the last to feature Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Marky, who'd returned to the drum chair for the first time since Subterranean Jungle.

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