Idiots will tell you that The Ramones only had one song, they merely varied the lyrics and the tempo: these idiots are idiots. The Ramones may not have gone in for suspended fifths and cadenzas but they effortlessly blended bubblegum melodies, buzzsaw guitar and comic book lyrics to produce machine tooled punk pop for the ages and, yes, great songs.
My favourite Ramones song is ‘Swallow My Pride’. It’s one of my favourite songs by anybody, ever. Over a typically no-nonsense arrangement, Joey Ramone tells us in fifty words or so a tale of indiscretion, compromise and the promise of romantic reconciliation after two years of estrangement (in the here and now world of The Ramones two years is a millennia).
The lyrics are so succinct they sound like a haiku; the melody happy, sad, poppy, punky, brilliant. Incidentally, when I first heard this song, a combination of Joey’s Noo Yawk accent and poor radio reception led me to believe this song was called ‘Muskrat’, which led to much smartarsery and sneering in the record shop when I asked for it. Dicks.