Joey Ramone : Don’t Worry About Me

Last musical testament of Ramones singer...

Joey Ramone‘s death last year after a long battle with lymphatic cancer

signalled the passing of an age. Ramone WAS punk. Without him and his

band’s simple, revolutionary bubble-gum gubba gubba speed-pop there would

have been no Clash, and a different Sex Pistols. Any number of today’s major

three chord stoopid stoopid pop punks, from Green Day to Blink 182 and Sum 41,

would have had no spiritual guide.

This is the album that was recorded through the last months of his illness

and it’s more than a fitting epitaph. It sounds like a great lost Ramones

album, if a great lost grown-up Ramones album. Opening with a glorious cover

of Louis Armstrong‘s ‘Wonderful World’, faithful in it’s feeling of pure

joy and contentment if not in the buzz-saw delivery, Joey throws in ‘Stop Thinking About It’,

‘Mr. Punchy’ and ‘Maria Bartiromo’, three tracks that could sit with ease on

‘End Of The Century’, The Ramones 1980 Phil Spector-produced work of flawed genius.

Ramone‘s mortality weighs heavy, but though this is a record made by a man

who knows he is dying it’s ultimately hopeful. It closes with the title track,

a punk rock hymn that reads like a kiss-off to the girl he wants who always

lets him down. It’s his final sneer at the world that let him go too soon,

his final indignant ‘fuck you’ – he’s bitter and tired, harsh, sad and disappointed

but finally ready and sure that he’s moving on. It is perfect. (1-2-3-4)

Paul McNamee