Rumor had it that Rocket to Russia would find the Ramones adding some sophistication to their music. I’m happy to report that that is not the case. Granted, “Teenage Lobotomy” does rhyme “tell ’em” with “cerebellum,” and though one cut employs just 10 words, the Ramones seem generally to be getting more verbose. But this third album, which offers 12 originals as well as “Surfin’ Bird” and “Do You Wanna Dance?,” shows the outfit to be as lovably basic as ever.
I think we need some straightforward rockers among all the hyphenated hybrids and I still like the Ramones, but I do wonder where they can go from here. In its single format, “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” suggested one good answer, but it has been remixed for the LP to sound like all its neighbors. Oh well. A few glue-sniffing or shock-therapy sessions and it won’t matter. Biggest giggle: “We’re a Happy Family.”