Leave Home (Deluxe Edition)
The Ramones’ second album took the single-minded bludgeoning attack of their self-titled debut and sweetened it ever so slightly for greater fun and accessibility. Whereas the debut was pure slash and burn with stark stereo separation between guitar and vocals, Leave Home smoothed over those rough edges in favor of the band’s most tuneful material to date. “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment,” “Carbona Not Glue” (cut from the original album at the last minute), “You’re Gonna Kill That Girl” and “You Should Never Have Opened That Door” might seem a tad violent and psychotic on the surface, but as part of the band’s humor and immense B-movie appeal with swooning harmonies and bouncy melodies tucked inside, the result was groundbreaking. The band defined punk rock as it was evolving in the 1970s, adding touches of surf (“California Sun”), AM bubblegum pop (“I Remember You,” “Oh Oh I Love Her So,”) and self-empowerment freak anthems (“Suzy is A Headbanger,” “Pinhead”). Considering the band’s eventual widespread acceptance and influence, it’s difficult to imagine these recordings as being as revolutionary as they were. The expanded edition includes an entire 1976 concert at the Roxy in L.A., 16 tracks from the group’s first two albums played at their typical breakneck pace in just over half an hour. Whew.