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.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Go-Go's - Beauty And The Beat (1981)

NUMBER ONE ALBUMS, 1976-85 WEEK* (MAY 5-11, 2014)

Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD.  My cassette cover was blue, my CD cover is...well, I'm guessing that's supposed to be pink?

"It’s not quite right to say that the Go-Go’s' 1981 debut, Beauty and the Beat, is where new wave caught hold in the U.S., but it’s not quite wrong, either."  - allmusic

"This one's got hooks." B+ - Robert Christgau, Village Voice

"The Go-Go’s made history with Beauty And The Beat—and barely survived it." - The AV Club

★★★★ - Rolling Stone, issue 355

The Go-Go's epitomized Southern California for me.  In 1981-82, I desperately wanted to move to L.A. and go see the girls nightly at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip.   Their "I don't care what you think about me" attitude made me want to follow them backstage where they would teach about the ways of the world, then discard me like a styrofoam Big Mac container.  But I giddily digress.

Musically, this is 60's girl groups meets power pop meets surf rock meets New Wave and it was right in my wheelhouse from the very first listen.  I've listened many times since - on tape (pre-recorded and dubbed), on LP, on CD, on mp3, and live. They'd never make an album this good again.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (6 consecutive weeks, March 6 - April 10, 1982)
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #1 (4 consecutive weeks)

Tracks:  The girls thrash through 11 tunes in under 33 minutes.  The favorite tune from this album is Our Lips Are Sealed, but We Got The Beat isn't far behind. I also favor How Much More, Lust To Love, and the fantastic three songs that end the album: You Can't Walk In You Sleep (If You Can't Sleep), Skidmarks On My Heart, and Can't Stop the World.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Go-Go music really makes us dance.  My friends and I listened to this practically non-stop during our sophomore year.  It was the one album on which we could all agree.  Whether I was in the car with Scott, playing a pick-up basketball game with Brett, or riding the bus with the one act play cast, this album wasn't far from hand.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Return To The Valley Of The Go-Go's (1994)
Vacation (1982)

*Two weeks ago on another blog (My Favorite Decade, 1976-1985), I asked myself if I owned all of the #1 albums from that particular decade. It turned out that I wasn't anywhere close to owning them all and, embarrassed, went on a CD shopping spree to rectify the situation.  With most of the exception of this Go-Go's album, I am hearing them complete for the first time this week.

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