|Joey Ramone - Don't Worry About Me|
|Music Disc Reviews DVD-Audio|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Tuesday, 19 November 2002|
Anyone who knows anything about the history of punk rock knows that the late Joey Ramone was one of the founding fathers of the genre. With their raw, straight from the garage sound and boatloads of enthusiasm, the Ramones forged a name for themselves, despite not really being too good on their instruments. Although this is not a Ramones album but rather the first solo album by Joey Ramone, it seems a strange choice to release on the DVD-Audio format. Distorted guitars and ever so slightly out of key vocals don’t make you think hi-res music, but nonetheless I opened my mind and ears to the Joey Ramone DVD-Audio experience.
Ramone kicks off the album with a rock ‘n’ roll cover of the Louis Armstrong song “Wonderful World.” This up-tempo tune doesn’t stray too far from the original arrangement and surprisingly works as a punk rock song. The hook from the title track “Don’t Worry About Me” will burn itself into your head, especially because it loops itself when you start the disc and are navigating through the menus. The songs aren’t as raw as vintage Ramones tracks. As Joey was battling health problems when this album was made, the energy may not have always been there, but his heart sure was and that comes across.
The surround mix is not overly experimental or edgy. It serves more to make the album sound bigger and fuller rather than to wow you with crazy panning and effects. With not much more than your standard drums, bass and a guitar or two, it would have been lame to try to reinvent the wheel anyway when mixing this disc for surround sound. In other words, it has crunchy guitars coming at you from all directions and rocks a little harder than regular old stereo.
If you have a monitor hooked up to your DVD-Audio player, you can use the onscreen menus to choose the tracks you want to listen to. On this disc, there are bonus materials such as the video for the song “Wonderful World,” as well as Joey’s bio, a tribute to Joey by the album’s producer, and much more.
When listening to the actual music on the disc, you have two options. The first is to find the track that you want to listen to and then turn off the monitor and let the disc play. If you’d like to follow along with the lyrics, you can leave the monitor on and, as the song plays along, the words appear on the screen. The onscreen images and titles are better than some DVD-A discs I’ve seen, but are not so compelling that I’d ever watch them through on repeated listenings.
If you are a die-hard fan of the Ramones and have a DVD-Audio or even a standard DVD player, you certainly need to have this disc. Joey Ramone was a true artist who cared more about making the music he loved than focusing on mainstream success. This DVD-Audio, although by no means audio demo quality, is a great tribute to Ramone and could help to introduce the format to a totally different demographic than most of the titles that are being released right now.