Thursday, May 7, 2020

Certain Songs #1813: Ramones – “Pet Sematary” | Medialoper

Album: Brain Drain
Year: 1989

I got to see the Ramones for the second and final time on September 19, 1987 at the Wilson Theater in Fresno. This was on the Brain Drain tour, a record that was so devoid of inspiration that Robert Christgau dissed by calling them a “great band that has worn down to a day job for night people.”

However, lack of inspiration isn’t lack of professionalism, and with Marky back in the drummers throne, they were awesome in concert. Though it might have been the, er, substance Ronnie (R.I.P.) and I ingested before they went on, I remember just letting myself being blown away by one great song after another, all of which were announced by Dee Dee’s omnipresent “1-2-3-4!”, and even if they hated each other and were doing it because they knew there was nothing else they could do, they clearly still trusted in their ever-present momentum.

After “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg,” however, their studio albums suffered from that lack of inspiration. And while I enjoyed Joey’s big anthems about belief — and the clever video that went along with “Something to Believe In,” — as well as some of the punk-pop tunes they occasionally churned out, nothing really stuck. Except for the cheesy ass song they wrote for a long-time fan’s film. That long-time fan, of course, was Stephen King, and their title track for the film made from Pet Sematary — the last King book this non-horror fan ever read — was an unexpected hit.

Featuring spooky gothic keyboards over Johnny’s expected roar and big drum rolls, what put “Pet Sematary” over was the chorus, which was equal parts goofy and catchy:

I don’t want to be buried in a pet cemetery
I don’t want to live my life again
I don’t want to be buried in a pet cemetery
I don’t want to live my life again

And honestly, who could argue with that.?And yeah, “Pet Sematary” is overproduced by half, but with a suitably spooky-funny not spooky-scary video, it actually got both MTV and radio play.

Why is this song different from all other Ramones songs?
It was their highest-charting U.S. song, making it all the way to #4 on the relatively new Modern Rock charts. And while 30 years later nobody would put “Pet Sematary” at the top of most popular Ramones songs, it was nice to see them have any kind of success, and it probably fueled the next 9 years of their career, for better and worse.

“Pet Sematary”

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