Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Go-Go's - Return To The Valley Of The Go-Go's (1994)

A two disc, 36 track greatest hit compilation from the first all-female band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. If you can ignore the poor album cover, the rest of the 24 page liner note booklet is great. I loved Beauty And The Beat (which I owned on cassette), lost interest when Vacation came out, then the band released my favorite Go-Go's song: Head Over Heels. Then I lost interest again. And then I bought this CD in the mid-90's. I've never heard the group's 2001 album, God Bless The Go-Go's. It's a love-hate relationship.

Tracks: The first disc starts off with a lot of previously unreleased live tracks from rehearsals and early concerts. Too many of these in my opinion. I'm not a big enough fan to enjoy these early recordings. The only keepers from the unreleased tracks are a live version of Johnny Are You Queer? from a 1979 concert at The Mabuhay in San Fransisco and studio cover demo of The Capitols' Cool Jerk. Things don't really get cooking until track 12 when we get to tracks from the group's 1981 album Beauty And The Beat. Then we get all the tracks I can sing along with: Lust To Love, How Much More, Skidmarks On My Heart, This Town, and, of course, We Got The Beat and Our Lips Are Sealed (runner-up for fav Go'Go's tune). Another good BATB tune, Can't Stop The World, is available as a live tune on the second disc.

The second disc starts off with tunes from the Vacation era. Not my favs with the exception of Get Up And Go. Then we get to the Talk Show era (1984). Talk Show isn't as good as Beauty And The Beat, but it is miles better than Vacation. Good stuff from that time: the b-side Good For Gone, Head Over Heels, and Turn To You. I also like I'm The Only One which is included as a live version later in the disc. After 5 mostly mediocre live tracks (except for the acoustic version of Mercenary, which is horrible), the disc ends with 3 new 1994 recordings. Of those 3, only The Whole World Lost Its Head is decent.

Bottom line: 36 tracks, only 9 of which are ripped to my iTunes. Too many live tracks here (17 of 36). I should have looked at the track listing before buying. Maybe I should have just bought the Beauty And the Beat CD instead.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: My friend Scott absolutely loved this band and we both knew all the lyrics from Beauty And The Beat. We saw the group in 2000. Belinda was looking especially lovely. (Love ya, Belinda, call me!)

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