Sound — 9
The second album by New York punk pioneers Ramones, Leave Home is a progression both musically and lyrically from the much rawer sound of their self-titled debut. The title refers to the band touring for the first time, and establishing a fanbase outside of CBGBs. The album sparked up controversy, by using the name of a commercial product, Carbona, in connection with substance abuse on Carbona Not Glue, and the track listing on (now-rare) re-releases of the time varied from the original. The most widely available release also features Babysitter, as well as a seventeen-track set performed live at the Roxy in LA. Pinhead spawned the instantly recognisable chant "Gabba Gabba Hey", and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys lifted the main hook from You're Gonna Kill That Girl for Kill The Poor. California Sun displays the wide range of influences the band drew from, being a cover of the classic surf-pop anthem by The Rivieras.
Lyrics — 9
Joey and Dee Dee both evolve as lyricists from the previous album, as Leave Home crams in more pop-culture references, witty one-liners, and anthemic chants than the previous album. Joey sounds more comfortable second time out, and his vocals complement the typically buzzsaw rhythm provided by his three bandmates wonderfully.
Overall Impression — 9
In my opinion, controversial though it may be, Leave Home is slightly superior to Ramones. It is a close-run thing, however, but the presence of Pinhead just tips Leave Home over the edge. A shame, really, that they couldn't maintain this standard, Rocket To Russia and Too Tough To Die aside. Those four are absolute essentials for anyone wanting to learn about punk music, along with the Dead Kennedys' Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, the Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks, The Clash's London Calling and Combat Rock and The Jam's All Mod Cons. All in all, Leave Home is a shining beacon of punk brilliance, combined with a sharp pop sensibility. They went on to perfect the sound with Rocket To Russia, but this is equally essential.