The quality that insured the Ramones' first album would become one of the most important records in modern rock was the same quality that guaranteed they would never have the mainstream success in their time: a unified vision, the force of a single idea. There is a purity to Ramones that is almost overwhelming and frightening. Basically, the Ramones are the only punk group from the 1970s to have maintained their vision for so long, without compromise - a vision fully and completely expressed on their very first album. In America, there is a skepticism and wariness about any artistic or cultural form that doesn't evolve, that doesn't grow. There is no more damning critique than the charge of repeating yourself. And yet punk was precisely about repetition; its art lay in the rejection of elaboration. And nowhere is this more evident than on the Ramones' first album, whose unforgiving and fearful symmetry announced the arrival of a sound so pure it did not require change.