Opening with “Blitzkrieg Bop,” a quick and stylish track that immediately causes movement and forces the listener to chant along to the lyrics, “Hey Oh, lets go, Shoot them in the back now. What they want, I don’t know, we’re all revved up and ready to go.” The track created this substantial mix of both choruses that any pop song of the time would have, but then combined a desperate speed increase that would make The Ramones so popular in becoming the Grandfathers of Punk music. Punk music relies on rapid and primarily aggressive style to convey the endless fury within a track, The Ramones adopted this style and were one of the first bands to achieve this, now legendary technique.
“Blitzkrieg Bop” contains a varying level of layering within the track and is constantly changing between three stages. The main chorus where “Hey Oh, lets go,” is sung, to the main verse where lead singer Joey Ramone, would deliver the primary account of lyrics, “They’re forming in a straight line, We’re going through a tight wind.” This then leads to the final section of the track where background vocalist and bassist, Dee Dee Ramone would come together with Joey to harmonize and create these sections of a beauty behind the destruction. When played all together, the lead guitar from Johnny Ramone created an instant identity to “Blitzkrieg Bop,” this is also held in relation to the percussion, which was handled by Tommy Ramone.
Trailing behind was the black-humor track, “Beat On The Brat.” Featuring a comedic style and an ultimately iconic entrance where Joey happily explains “Beat on the brat. Beat on the brat. Beat on the brat with a baseball bat, Oh yeah.” The instrumental behind Joey is an uncomplicated, but refined guitar and drum beat that switches between a strumming guitar to the crashing and competing percussion. The bass line laid down by Dee Dee Ramone buzzes along and does not act as a stand-out device, but instead a steady track progressing style where the rest of The Ramones can stand along. “Beat On The Brat” ends abruptly, but jumps right into “Judy Is A Punk.”
The second of the two single releases, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” is a melodic and loose style of love song where Joey can softly express and question a future lover, “Hey little girl, I wanna be your boyfriend. Sweet little girl, I wanna be your boyfriend. Do you love me babe? What do ya say?” This is The Ramones equivalent to “I Want to Hold Your Hand” where the track borrows the peaceful style, but still has this upbeat attitude and instrumental. Even as “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” is more of a sluggish track when compared to the others on The Ramones, it still is able to keep a slick and faster pace for a love song. It ends by fading out into a wonderful silence, then revving up for the next track.
“Chain Saw” uses a roaring circular saw to rev up the opening where Joey Ramone can sing “Sitting here with nothing to do, sitting here thinking only of you… But She’ll never get out here, She’ll never get out of here.” There is also another section where it sounds like Joey indifferently says, “They chop her up and I don’t care,” referring to the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Ramones had been known to say some shocking lyrics of the time, describing a gritty world full of death, love, and even male prostitution which comes later in The Ramones. The disturbed lyrics while common for punk music, are quite uncommon of the time period and were a slight eye-brow raiser when finally found out.
“I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement.” Trails behind and is a track that has yet another comedic lyrical style, “Hey Daddy-o, I don’t wanna go, down to the basement. There’s something down there, I don’t wanna go.” It relates similarly to “Chain Saw” where the horror movie affiliation is accompanied along with Joey Ramone’s absolute fascination with the horror genre. This is also where Tommy Ramone would think that The Ramones would need tracks like “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,” to district from the constant death and misery that most of The Ramones songs covered.
Another get in and get out track, “Loudmouth” is a rapid-fire true to origins of The Ramones song. It uses Tommy’s quick percussion strikes, a memorable bass and guitar groove from Dee Dee and Johnny, and one of the rawer lyrical performances from Joey Ramone where he aggressively threatens “Well you’re a loudmouth baby, you better shut up. I’m gonna beat you up, well you’re a loudmouth babe.” There is also a section in the track’s end where the band plays the finale of “Loudmouth,” coming together to create a great sense of punk rock chemistry that would echo on for the next forty years even after the first initial release of The Ramones.
More of a percussion focused track, “Havana Affair” puts the spotlight on Tommy and uses a downright fantastic use of reverb on his floor tom which then leads into a rapid-assault of hi-hat smacks as the track moves between choruses and different verses. Joey Ramone gives a stellar performance and that is also the case for both Dee Dee and Johnny as well. The lyrics “Now I’m a guide for the C.I.A., hooray for the U.S.A., baby baby make me loco, baby baby make me mambo,” reign through and create this great sense of urgency when paired with the rushing percussion. This is the case for the following track as well, “Listen To My Heart”
This love style is then abandoned when going into “53rd and 3rd.” Tommy Ramone starts the track off with some attacking snare and bass smacks before the rest of The Ramones join in and are almost compiled into a march like style. Joey shows love for his home city of New York with the lyrics “53rd and 3rd, standing on the street. 53rd and 3rd, I’m trying to turn a trick. 53rd and 3rd, you’re the one they never pick. 53rd and 3rd, don’t it make you feel sick?” The street 53rd and 3rd was a popular hot-spot for male prostitution in New York City.
Despite being an emotionally disturbed track, it is one of the more memorable and quotable tracks on The Ramones. It has outstanding progression and an instrumental that continues to change the formula that The Ramones had made popular so long ago.
After the drastic change up, “Let’s Dance” is a quick, swinging track that talks of doing “The Twist, The Stomp, [and] the Mashed Potato too.” It is a significant change from the somber and chaotic track “53rd and 3rd.” This track is actually a cover of the 1962 song of the same name by Chris Montez. The cover by The Ramones is interestingly enough rather similar to tempo and style of the original. There are obvious changes in instrumentation, but the overall presentation is entirely the same.
“Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World,” is the finale to the rambunctious and energized journey on the world through The Ramones’ eyes. Starting how The Ramones would, a fast and dance style of classic punk song that would eventually make tsunami waves upon the music world. Johnny Ramone plays a breakneck riff fest with Tommy playing aggressively, but not with an overpowering sense of ability. This would all lead into “Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World’s” rather vitalized ending where The Ramones draw out the last minute of The Ramones into a wonderfully planned and spectacular ending full of bravado and hope for the future of punk music everywhere.