Joey Ramone

Don't Worry About Me

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In the wake of the sad passing of Joey Ramone, Don't Worry About Me is the first posthumous release to come from his estate. Consisting of pop-punk anthems along the lines of '60s garage rock and very early punk, Don't Worry About Me is a sad reminder of how good Ramone really was. With a brilliant ear for melody, a songwriting skill based in simplicity, and the most unpretentious lyrics this side of Chubby Checker, Ramone didn't care about making groundbreaking music when he had mastered the art of pop-punk to a degree most of his disciples will never understand. "What a Wonderful World" and "1969" are excellent covers that do their source material justice, although Louis Armstrong probably never expected his torch song to be rocked out à la Sid Vicious' "My Way." But the two best tracks are "Searching for Something," his Beatlesque tribute to a girl, and "Mr. Punchy," a gorgeous pop song that features a guest appearance from the Damned's Captain Sensible. The anti-cancer anthem "I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up)" is a heartbreaking stance on his condition that is pure punk rock all the way ("I want my life/I want my life/It really sucks/It really sucks") that only goes to show how even toward the end, he refused to give into sentimentality. Nothing new to see here, and that's a good thing, as Ramone's trademark whine never sounded so sincere as it did in his last studio recordings.

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