End of the Century (Deluxe Edition)
After four solid uncompromising albums, the Ramones were in need of a change in direction and a commercial breakthrough. Who better to recharge the group’s creative spark and get them on the radio than legendary record producer Phil Spector? It would be one “Wall of Sound” meeting another...except the band had trouble with the songwriting, Spector had trouble with the production, and radio still ignored the group. (The album charted the highest of any Ramones album, but that wasn’t much of a challenge.) While there are many Ramones classics on the album — “Do You Remember Rock n’ Roll Radio?,” “I’m Affected,” “Danny Says” and “Rock n’ Roll High School,” for starters — it is the first to include several throwaways (“This Ain’t Havana,” “High Risk Insurance”). The string-laden cover of “Baby, I Love You” is intriguing, if awkward. Spector was better at providing an extra menace to the harder tunes. “I’m Affected” is charged with distortion and reverb. “Rock n’ Roll Radio” sounds like one big-band jamboree. The expanded edition includes five bare-bones demos that prove that while radio may have demanded the band brighten their sound, the group itself didn’t need any of it.