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End Of The Century (Expanded & Remastered)

End Of The Century (Expanded & Remastered)

August 20, 2002
4.2 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Johnny Heering on December 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This, of course, is the controversial Ramones album that was produced by Phil Spector. Some people love it and some people hate it. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle. It's a good album, but it's inferior to all the Ramones' previous albums. Spector's "magic touch" certainly gave the Ramones a more "sophisticated" sound, but it's debatable whether or not the Ramones needed to sound more sophisticated. Some songs definitely benefited from Spector's production flourishes, like "Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?" and "Danny Says". And some songs probably would have sounded better if Spector had just left them alone, like "I'm Affected" and "All the Way". (Demo versions of all those songs are on the CD, for comparison's sake.) The single most controversial song on the CD is "Baby, I Love You". This cover version of the Ronettes hit is not the least bit punk, which is why many people hate it. It feature Joey singing to the full Spector "Wall of Sound", with nary another Ramone in sight. Ironically, "Baby, I Love You" went on to become the Ramones' biggest hit in the UK. It is actually pretty good, if taken on it's own terms. Which can also be said for the whole album in general. The CD has one unlisted bonus track, which is Joey doing a radio spot for the album.
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Format: Audio CD
This is my generation's Exile on Main St., totally misunderstood by idiot critics (and seemingly, the Ramones themselves. Only Joey seemed to dig it) Here, the Ramones stake their claim to the whole of American Rock 'n Roll, not just parochial NYC punk, and Phil Spector (who legitimately loved this band) justifies his own sorry existence by giving them the gift of the biggest wall of sound he ever came up with. After this album, Johnny stole Joey's girlfriend and the magic was gone, they started claiming individual song credits, they brought in ringers to play guitar solos on the albums, DeeDee started shooting up again, Joey started boozing and not caring, and the band went down the toilet. But this record just sounds better and better with each passing year. (Except "Chinese Rocks" -- interesting to hear the boys jump from household solvents to hard drugs, but Johnny Thunders friggin' OWNS this song; Joey just ain't a convincing junkie. Still, the tune's darkness adds to E of the C's stylistic diversity). Did I say my generation's Exile on Main St? It's also my generations White Album and London Calling. (wait a minute, London Calling is my generation's London Calling -- but End of the Century is a better London Calling than London Calling...)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's quite interesting to read about cases in which a band is matched with a producer whose ideas clash with those of the group he or she is assigned to. Rock is filled with examples. Cheap Trick was dealt former Beatles producer George Martin for their 1980 "All Shook Up" album, much to the confusion of the critics. The Byrds suffered a blow when Terry Melcher covered their 1971 record "Byrdmaniax" with an array of keyboards, strings, and backup singers after the group had recorded the basic tracks (the ironic thing being that Melcher had been the Byrds' longtime friend and producer). And just recently, Paul McCartney re-issued the Beatles' legendary "Let it Be" album, but minus the input and infamous "Wall of Sound" of producer Phil Spector, who was paired with the Ramones in 1980 for "End of the Century," perhaps the punk rock pioneers' most controversial album, and one that raises a lot of points. The Ramones had started to expand their three-chord buzzsaw approach with "Road to Ruin" and a gradual progression was inevitable. But this album was a shock to many, as it contained such surprising bits as string arrangements and other things that don't come to mind when one mentions the Ramones. But "End of the Century" is a fascinating piece of history, not only of the Ramones, but of punk in general (even though the group was being overshadowed by the countless bands who had ripped them off, i.e. "the acts they had inspired").

In all fairness, it must be said that a big part of the progression in the album comes not from Spector's producing, but in the Ramones' songwriting. There are the typical Ramones-style punk rockers like `Let's Go,' `The Return of Jackie & Judy,' `All the Way,' and `High Risk Insurance' but there are other elements that have begun to sprout.
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Format: Audio CD
The band's fifth album "End of the Century" has always been great for me despite the experimental nature on some of the songs and Spector's dense production. What I'm referring to above is the original issue...the remaster is another story. The sound is too loud and there's definitely some clipping and distortion on some of the vocals. Worse still, there's even a mistake/mastering error now present on "Can't Make It on Time"...at about the 0:33 mark, there's a volume drop out towards the right channel that wasn't there on the original version. It sounds like the treble setting is momentarily turn off then quickly back on. Luckily, it lasts less than a second yet it is still noticeable and that points toward carelessness during the remastering process. It is unacceptable folks but that ain't all. One of my favorite songs was "The Return of Jackie & Judy". On this remaster, the percussion has been raised too much to the point that it becomes intrusive and annoying throughout. The rhythm guitar can be barely heard during the intro...hopelessly buried underneath the percussion pattern. Too bad! Was the original like that? Of course not!
In conclusion, try to find an older pressing of this album and hear it the proper way. In my opinion, the Ramones catalog suffered a great deal with the remaster campaign with most of the albums coming out with worse sound than the originals. Oh well...maybe Bill Inglot was not exactly the best choice to do the job. Among his later projects include the remastering of the Yes albums...go figure. I can only recommend this reissue for the booklet if you can find it for a great price. In this case, it may be a good decision to just download the extra tracks. I would NOT recommend this for the remastered sound.
Thanks for taking the time to read!
Later...
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