Road to Ruin (Deluxe Edition)
The Ramones’ fourth album modifies the group’s attack. While guitar solos and acoustic guitars could be heard (sparingly) on Rocket to Russia, the band’s previous album, Road to Ruin made these advancements more pronounced. “Don’t Come Close” and “Questioningly” are full-on acoustic ballads, touching and tender, while the album’s opener, “I Just Want To Have Something To Do” builds its tension with a second guitar that solos and hangs its feedback in dramatic shadow. The band’s raw early days are over. (Marky Ramone takes over the drum seat from Tommy, who remains behind the soundboard.) However, their obsessions with mental illness (“I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Go Mental,” “Bad Brain”), idle, self-serving youth (“I Wanted Everything,” “I’m Against It”), twisted love songs (“I Don’t Want You”) and ‘60s pop covers (the Searchers hit “Needles and Pins”) keep the material consistently powerful and moving. The expanded edition includes several songs that appeared in their film Rock n’ Roll High School, a live performance that shows they hadn’t lost a step, and two demos for songs that never made it to a finished record that are exciting curios from a band still in their prime.