Friday, June 21, 2013

OH OH I LOVE HER SO-- Leave Home 4

The RAMONES' growing experimentation with the common 'doo-wop' chord sequence (second only to the magical 1-4-5 in terms of dominant prominence in pop music since the fifties) is charted throughout their second album. The earliest cover song fixture in their live set CALIFORNIA SUN features it, and given that the band eventually also covered PALISADES PARK (a classic example of the form, which resembles OH OH I LOVE HER SO considerably) it seems likely that they were already familiar with the Freddy Cannon oldie at this point as well. YOU'RE GONNA KILL THAT GIRL, also appearing with CALIFORNIA SUN on side 2, is a breathtaking, sinister parody of its cliched attributes.  OH OH I LOVE HER SO displays a more confident willingness to tinker with the formula, and represents the stepping stone which will later culminate into SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER and, in the more distant future, ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL.

The progression, starting in this track's key of A, moves around A-Fsharp minor-D-E. (True to form, JOHNNY eschews the minor touch and plays all 4 major. The changes are also commonly transposed onto the keys of G and C, especially on guitar, where the novice's most familiar open positions are utilized. Not that this matters to JOHNNY, who is barre chording all the way.) It's worth noting that in a sense the 'doo-wop' change is basically 1-4-5 with one more chord thrown in, and unsurprisingly the chorus of this song simplifies into a blast of A-D-E. This not only recalls BLITZKRIEG BOP, but also prefigures SHEENA, which shall adopt an extremely similar chorus, but in the key of C.

Mostly opting for Girl Group/BEACH BOYS-style romanticisms, the lyric continues the development of their trash aesthetic, noting with specificity the fast food joint where the lovers' eyes first meet. It also commences a habit of mythologizing the RAMONES' NYC home turf, mentioning an excursion to Coney Island, where they thrill to multiple rides on the Cyclone (although surprisingly the world's most famous roller coaster is not mentioned by name). Developing an idea first tried on GIMME GIMME SHOCK TREATMENT, the lyric also exhibits another soon to be trademark affectation: Titles and phrases which begin with a repeated word.

All in all, the components should add up to an ideal vehicle of accelerated throwback nostalgia, but somehow the resultant track just misses the mark-- despite jubilant, energetic performances all around. This is certainly one of the LP's most glaring instances of a flawed, vocal heavy/drum soft mix. A clearer extra guitar overdub (distractingly noodling an out of place sounding figure on the first two lines of the middle 8) and high pitched background vocal 'oohs' make an already somewhat trebly track seem even more so. Also exacerbated by the CARBONA NOT GLUE fiasco (though not a factor on this CD edition) was the substitute running order placement of SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER immediately after OH OH I LOVE HER SO, which tended to highlight its slight inferiority by following it with the later, similar song which marks improvement in virtually every area- better performance, better lyrics, better mix, more adventurous melody. As the final correct-for-the-genre-but-totally-inappropriate-for-the-RAMONES chord A Dom7/6 sets in the west, fans will have to look forward to IT'S ALIVE for the authoritatively realized performance of one of the group's most perfect pieces of pure pop.



  1. Okay, but which one of the guys liked roller coasters?

    1. If I were to guess, I'd say DeeDee and Tommy DIDN'T like rollercoasters.