Valentine’s Day Punk Rock Style

When I was a teenager, my idea of a romantic gift was a mixtape compiled of all the punk rock love songs I could find. I would spend hours scouring my CD booklets, looking for songs that screamed my feelings for my crush of the moment. Even though I’m older, I still can’t help but appreciate all of the great songs on those mixtapes.

One band that has always had my heart, and that was always heavily featured on these massive mixtapes were the Ramones. Yes, they’re most popular for their bubble gum, quick-timed classics like Blitzkrieg Bop and I Wanna Be Sedated, but they also have quite a few gritty ballads.

I’ve been getting in the mood for Valentine’s all day with the help of hoopla, a digital resource we offer through the Library. hoopla (yep, their name is lowercase!) is a streaming platform the Library offers with thousands of music, movies, tv shows, audiobooks, and more, all for free with your library card!

If you’re making a Valentine’s mixtape of your own, or you want to rock out with hoopla, be sure to include at least one of these songs from the softer side of the Ramones:

I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend – Ramones

I’m not going to lie, it has always been a secret dream of mine to be serenaded by one of my crushes singing this song. Not only is this song incredibly sweet (and simple), the desperation in Joey Ramone’s voice makes it that much more dear.

She’s the One – Road to Ruin

This is one of those songs that instantly gets your heart pumping not only because you’re thinking about that special someone but because it’s quite a rocker. Johnny’s high energy guitar playing really shines through and meshes so well with the excitement in Joey’s voice.

I Want You Around – Road to Ruin (Expanded Version) / Rock N Roll High School

This is one of my top five favorite Ramones songs of all time, ever. I fell in love with Joey Ramone after I watched him plead and sing to PJ Soles in Rock n Roll High School (movie available here. Thanks, hoopla!). The determination in which Joey sings is incredible as in most of his songs he has a clear, strong voice. Here, his voice breaks (think a vocal fry) and it’s just so endearing.

I’m Affected – End of the Century

Okay, I know that a lot of folks don’t necessarily like End of the Century due to the overproduction of Phil Spector, but I’m just going to say it loud and proud: THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE ALBUMS… don’t @ me!

I’m Affected is such a weird song because you’ve got Joey Ramone putting on this tough, punk rock, growling voice, and then this odd combination of melodies. I’m a huge fan, especially because the lyrics speak to me, “When I look into your big brown eyes / And I feel like I’m in paradise / I want you by my side / Cause I’m affected, ‘fected… and all I want is you…”

She’s a Sensation – Pleasant Dreams

This song is just plain sweet. Knowing that the Ramones were so heavily influenced by 1950s and 60s pop, it’s no surprise that they’d write a song with great harmonization and melodies. This is one of those songs that definitely makes you happy to be alive.

There are so many other songs to explore and fall in love with, these are just a few of the romantic gems. Give them a listen and take some time to rummage through all the other goodies hoopla has to offer!

Have an amazing Valentine’s Day and enjoy those mixtapes!

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