Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ramones: Weird Tales of the Ramones [Sire/Rhino, 2005]
Between 1976 and 1978, the Ramones were a skyrocket who released four more or less flawless albums. Then they turned into a Ford Econoline, touring the world and releasing 11 more studio albums. Many were worthy, but only 1984's Too Tough to Die is worthy of the 25 '70s tracks omitted from this, their fourth or sixth anthology depending on how you count. It's their first box, selected by their late guitarist-leader Johnny Ramone, who was prouder than necessary of both their longevity and his ability to retire at 45 off his catalogue and investments. The '70s albums end on disc one, and the fourth disc is devoted to a recycled video comp that further emphasizes their careerist period. All 25 omitted songs would have fit onto that disc. In descending order of preference, try Ramones, Rocket to Russia, Road to Ruin, and Ramones Leave Home, all available separately. Program out the bonus cuts. [unknown: 3]