I can’t believe I waited this long to buy a Ramones recording (yes, Johnny’s death prompted me. I’m a ghoul, I can’t help it), but Ramones Mania was worth it—30 tracks of pure rock goodness, with the longest track the caustic Reagan kiss-off “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” at a sprawling 3:53 and 25 other tracks that are less than three minutes in length. It’s almost available on the iTunes Music Store, but they haven’t gotten around to adding “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” (track 3), which actually exists in the store but hasn’t been linked to the album yet. I recommend waiting until they complete the album lineup so you pay $10 instead of $28.71.
The new U2 single, “Vertigo,” is available in the iTunes Music Store. This isn’t so much of a non sequitur as you might think—there’s a strong punk influence on the track, from the opening four-count in Spanish to the first guitar and bass riff. After that it goes some different places, including some very nice angular guitar work in the bridge, which for all the world sounds like the Edge quoting himself circa October. It sounds like the boys are having fun, which is something of a relief after the self-consciously earnest All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
I’m currently listening, while I try to get some work done, to the amazing Low outtakes and rarities box set, A Lifetime of Temporary Relief. The polar opposite, in size, mood, and tracklength, of the Ramones recording, the set chronicles ten years of mournful beauty from the amazingly consistent and downbeat trio from Duluth. Too many highlights to mention, but I will say that they do more justice than I would have thought possible to the George Harrison-penned Beatles classic “Long Long Long.”