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* * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty : : PINHEAD ANTHEMS

RECORD RACK

September 20, 1987|STEVE HOCHMAN

* 1/2"HALFWAY TO SANITY." Ramones. Sire. The 11th album in 11 years from the Gotham goonies is a major disappointment, not because its best moments are merely rehashes of past glories, not because the generally thudding sound makes the band's pioneering jackhammer attacks of a decade ago seem lithe and breezy by comparison, and not because such looks back on teen Angst as "I Know Better Now" make it painfully obvious that the boys are getting long in the tooth, but because it betrays the emotional growth demonstrated on last year's "Animal Boy." There's none of the political awareness of "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" or the hopeful yearning of "Something to Believe In" to give a fresh context for the expected pinhead anthems. "Weasel Face," "Worm Man," et al. come off as nothing but stale jokes, with the only changes of pace (nods to Jan and Dean, speed metal and Phil Spector) covering ground these guys have gone over many times before.

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