The Ramones provided the blueprint and Leave Home duplicated it with lesser results, but the Ramones' third album, Rocket to Russia, perfected it. Rocket to Russia boasts a cleaner production than its predecessors, which only gives the Ramones' music more force. It helps that the group wrote its finest set of songs for the album. From the mindless, bopping opening of "Cretin Hop" and "Rockaway Beach" to the urban surf rock of "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" and the ridiculous anthem "Teenage Lobotomy," the songs are teeming with irresistibly catchy hooks; even their choice of covers, "Do You Want to Dance?" and "Surfin' Bird," provide more hooks than usual. The Ramones also branch out slightly, adding ballads to the mix. Even with these (relatively) slower songs, the speed of the album never decreases. However, the abundance of hooks and slight variety in tempos makes Rocket to Russia the Ramones' most listenable and enjoyable album -- it doesn't have the revolutionary impact of The Ramones, but it's a better album and one of the finest records of the late '70s.
Rocket to Russia Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine