The Real Ramona marked the perfect balance of Throwing Muses' angular songwriting and latent pop tendencies. Where Hunkpapa tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to mix these elements, this album succeeds with surreal pop songs like "Counting Backwards" and "Red Shoes." They're catchy and riveting, clearly linked to the band's early material yet more focused and accessible. "Graffiti" and "Two-Step" are two of Kristin Hersh's most appealing pop snippets, but dark, uncompromising tracks like "Say Goodbye," "Ellen West," and "Hook in Her Head" reaffirm that she can still write troubling, fascinating songs like nobody else. And just before she left the Muses to form Belly, Tanya Donelly finally arrived as a full-fledged songwriter with the giddy, gleeful "Not Too Soon" and "Honeychain," proving that she could be a charming foil to Hersh's more challenging style. Their final album as a quartet, The Real Ramona highlights the best points of the group's sound, making it a great starting point for new Throwing Muses fans.
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