What can the Ramones tell us about elections?

 

Ramones_-_Ramones_cover

There are many elections to think about at the moment – London elections for mayor, local elections, elections for the U.S. president. In any election “change” is a big thing. Anyone who offers it seems exciting. Anyone who says “I can offer you more of what has gone before,” doesn’t come over as quite so compelling. That being said, it is obvious that people are also wary of uncertainty, and fond of the familiar. Ideally then, change should be a continuation of the past dressed up as something new. I was thinking about this earlier this week on my latest stop on a journey through the Rolling Stone Magazine Top 500 albums of all time. I had reached 106, Rocket to Russia by the Ramones. The notes on Apple Music told me that the Ramones were the first punk band, which meant they took the bare essentials of pop music – four chords, a catchy melody and cleverly inane lyrics – and speeded up the tempo. In this way, they could go back to the pop of the late 50s and early 60s, and still sound revolutionary. They could wear the torn blue jeans and leather jackets of late 1950s greaser rockers and yet still have the sound for a radical new generation. Strange as it may seem the Ramones managed the trick used by successful politicians, to offer something old dressed up as something new. Still you won’t have a politician sing:

You think I’m real cute, but who’s gonna bring home the loot

Make up your mind about, hope you don’t doubt

That I can’t give you anything.

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