I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

Over the past little while I’ve been listening to my fair share of Sleater-Kinney, and then some. I figured I’d write an article about why The Woods is one of the greatest albums of all time. My plan was not to state an opinion, but to empirically prove it. Well, that’s slightly daunting, and I’m not there yet, but I thought I’d discuss a song from their earlier catalogue. First you should listen to the song.

Like it? I hope so. It’s called “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone,” and it’s from their 1996 album Call The Doctor, which is also their second album. The album is so old, in fact, that Lora Macfarlane is the drummer on the record1 and Carrie Brownstein is listed as Carrie Kinney2.

What immediately stands out on this song is a sound I don’t think I had ever heard on record before, and don’t know if its ever been recorded, I also didn’t know it could come from a human. During the chorus Corin Tucker sings, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” and for each “Yeah!” Brownstein punctuates it was a sound which is more reminiscent of a squeaking toy than a human.

The song is the ultimate example of riot grrrl. Riot grrrl for those unfamiliar is a genre that can no longer exist, as it’s a genre which by definition is limited to gender, and in this post-Lilith Fair world is really more insulting than liberating3. Basically, it’s a killer punk song made by chicks.

it’s fine
when it’s all mine
it’s on my wall
it’s in my head
memorize it till i’m dead
it’s yours
now i’m so bored

i wanna be your joey ramone
pictures of me on your bedroom door
invite you back after the show
i’m the queen of rock and roll

i just don’t care
are you that scared?
i swear they’re looking right at me
push to the front so i can see
it’s what i thought
it’s rock’n’roll

i wanna be your thurston moore
wrestle on the bedroom floor
always leave me wanting more
throw away those old records

we go downtown
put on our best frowns
give me a chance
i know i can dance

it’s fine
cus it’s all mine

For those unfamiliar, and or barely alive for the past thirty years, Joey Ramone was the frontman for the Ramones, way back in the ’70s when punk was first making its way into mainstream. Thurston Moore was/is the frontman for Sonic Youth, a band known as being one of the major influences in the noise rock scene and the grunge scene of the early ’90s.

I think the lyrics speak for themselves, as Brownstein and Tucker sing about their desire to be the rockstars they would become.  It’s not the greatest song, but oddly addictive.

  1. Janet Weiss would join the band later that year. []
  2. Hiding her Judaism from view. []
  3. Says the boy. []

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