In their third album, released on November 4, 1977 – the Ramones manage to give the final blow to the consolidation. Towards the end of the year in which punk becomes an international phenomenon, and after launching their second album, “Leave Home” nine months earlier, the New Yorkers show what they have learned in their three-year career due to incessant live performances. The result is an undying jewel of rock, whose cohesion becomes punk rock canon in its most elemental state.
Taking note of what their previous two albums left behind, Rocket to Russia is a solid piece, gracefully showing how the Ramones improve their formula as they begin to master their instruments and playing ability. Tommy’s drums sound more consistent than before, while the confident voice of Joey takes over from his role as frontman, whose purpose is to channel the band’s energy.
The first side of the album is a constant string of songs without the slightest trace of low points. The catchy beat on “Rockaway Beach” sums up and perfects the whole aesthetic of their second album, demonstrating a splendid ability to make pop loaded music with power; while “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” offers one of the best-built ballads by the band. In a more rock look, “I Don’t Care” begins to explore a more disenchanted facet in Joey’s compositions. “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” is a polished version of the rough and simple style they displayed in their namesake, while “We’re a Happy Family” humorously recounts the occasional critical brushstrokes that derail the light spirit of the band. While offering solid songs, the B-side includes essentials from its catalog such as “Teenage Lobotomy” or the American rock & roll and garage classics, “Do You Wanna Dance” and “Surfin ‘Bird”, both in an accelerated assessment, of course.
Rocket to Russia concludes a trilogy of records featuring the Ramones’ most significant repertoire, transforming them into absolute owners of a tremendously influential aesthetic. An immortal pearl of power pop and an unmistakable symbol of good punk rock.
Listen to the full album below: