Sound — 7
If there was an Old Testament of Punk Rock, this would be the first book. The Ramones' self-titled album, released in 1974, was a first not only for the band, but music as a whole. Emerging from the early 70's NYC Punk Scene, the band and this album set the precedent for Punk Rock and the countless genres that spawned from it. If you are looking for anything other than true, orthodox Punk, then stay far away from this CD. Johnny does not wail away on some overdone guitar solo; you will find nothing but barre chords here. Joey doesn't sing in good pitch; you could almost laugh at him. Dee Dee doesn't let the bass fade into the background; in fact, he drives every song forward. Tommy doesn't seem to know any other drum beat other than endless quarters; but that doesn't matter. None of the failings of the individuals matter, because when they come together, it's punk at its best. However the bass, guitar, vocals, and drums are poorly mixed. The bass dominates the sound far too much, and the voice of Joey has been doubled over for some reason. But again, that really doesn't matter because this is Punk, and Punk relies on imperfection.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics of the Ramones, especially on this album, and nothing to be impressed with. Even for a Punk Rock band, the tunes are repetitive and unimaginative. Each song only has three to five lines and a chorus; even after repeating the words three or four times, few songs go over the two minute mark. However, again, simplicity is beauty in Punk, and so many great one-liners of the Ramones can be found on this album: "Hey ho-let's go!", "Beat on the brat with a baseball bat", "I wanna be your boyfriend", "Now I wanna sniff some glue", "I don't wanna go down to the basement", "I'm a shock trooper in a stupor, yes I am." In addition, the lyrics and the music mix very well together; they go hand in hand, in fact: you can't have one without the other. So all in all, despite poor singing and repetitive lyrics, there is still something to be admired here.
Overall Impression — 10
Again, this album is the Bible of Punk. If you like Punk Rock, you must get this. Everyone has been influenced by this album and the band, from Green Day to Slayer to Billy Joel. If they like it, I think you will too. Some of the best Ramones songs are on this album: the immortal anthem "Blitzkrieg Bop", teen angst ballad "Now I wanna sniff some glue", and even a brush of historical perspective in "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World." If you are looking for anything other than Punk Rock, you will not find it here. Otherwise, I can't think of a reason not to buy this album.