Music Reviews
Too Tough to Live

Dan Sartain Too Tough to Live

(One Little Indian) Rating - 8/10

Do you like Jonny, Tommy, Joey and Dee Dee? Who doesn’t? Dan Sartain certainly does. How more Ramones could this album be? The answer is none, none more Ramones. Everything’s there: the nasally yap, the repeated four line lyrics about his baby, the absolute simplicity of the songs. I could count the amount of different chords used throughout the album on my thumbs. The title Too Tough to Live speaks for itself, a reference to the last decent Ramones album.

That’s not to say Dan Sartain is basically a Ramones covers artist, he’s more than that. For years, punk music has been completely missing a band or singer that accepts the minimalism at punk’s core. No band has gotten close to capturing the power of punk at its late 70’s peak. Everyone that’s tried has ended up being dull or trying to change things about the music. Dan Sartain has done nothing of the sort; he’s looked back on the history of the genre and, with the brevity of Wire and the speed of Buzzcocks, made one of the punchiest and best punk records of recent times.

Standout tracks such as Now Now Now and I Got Insurance capture that adolescent joy of when you first heard Blitzkrieg Bop; nostalgia plays such a role in the success of this album. Nostalgia for punk and nostalgia for your teenage years. The whole album is like an adrenaline rush, thirteen songs in nineteen minutes. John Peel used to say that Teenage Kicks was a perfect song; you couldn’t take anything out or put anything in to improve it. Too Tough to Live is the same; it has everything that you could ask for.