added: 8 Jun 2012
// release date: 30 May 2012 // label: BMG Rights Management
reviewer: Paul Chapinal
Cobbled together from a load of demos and unreleased recordings “Ya Know?” is an attempt by Joey Ramone’s brother Mickey Leigh to expand on his legacy and that there was more to him than the band.
By all accounts they didn’t have much to work from so it’s to their credit that they managed to get anything at all and that they tempted the likes of Joan Jett, Steven Van Zandt and others to contribute. It’s a mixed bag and one can’t help feeling that the majority of these songs should have been left well alone. But that isn’t the main problem with the album.
Rock ‘n’ Roll is the Answer opens the album; it’s Stonesy mid paced rocker oddly complemented by Joey’s familiar vocals. It’s ok but sets the tone for the album which, considering the talent involved and context, is overall a curiously lacklustre and dull affair.
Going Nowhere Fast and I Couldn’t Sleep are more traditional fare while New York City is a terrace song to his hometown. There’s a volte face of sorts with Waiting for that Railroad which is a lumpen, mainly acoustic based song. There then follows a run of songs – apart from the aforementioned …Sleep - that frankly are a struggle to get through.
Party Line with its fifties bubble-gum vibe is some relief, only to be plunged into a godawful version of the Ramones’s Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight). 21st Century Girl gets things back on track but after that – apart from an inspiring and somewhat sinister pit stop for Cabin Fever - it’s a crawl through tiredly performed mediocrity up to and including the closer, Life’s a Gas.
Nobody doubts the sincerity of this project; it does show another side of Joey Ramone but the overall execution lets it down, badly.
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