Monday, December 06, 2010

Go-Go’s “Beauty and the Beat” (1981)

Much as the Rock press would like to think, The Go-Go's were never Punk Rock. What they did take from Punk was the ethos rather than the music, the ability to form a band from a group of like minded individuals who perform music, disregarding technical musical ability or preconceived notion that rock is a masculine world, and for a brief moment they were the Darlings of the music industry. "Beauty And The Beat" is a testament to this ethic, brash, fun, slightly shambolic, but always heartfelt Power Pop. Formed in 1978 and originally called The Misfits and made up of Belinda Carlisle (Vocals), Jane Wiedlin (Guitar, Vocals), Charlotte Caffey (Guitar, Vocals), Margot Olaverra (Bass), and Elissa Bello (Drums), the band's major breakthrough would come through building a following from their support slot for British Ska nutty boys, Madness, and this led to a contract with Stiff Records for a one off single "We Got The Beat". The major record labels showed an interest in both the single and the live following the band were attracting, and The Go-Go's signed to IRS in early 1981. This, their debut would reach number 1 in the Billboard album charts for 6 weeks and would eventually go to sell over 2 million copies. Spiky Power Pop at its best, the Jane Wiedlin/Terry Hall co-composed single "Our Lips Are Sealed" would be the star attraction, along with other highlights including "We Got The Beat", "This Town", "Lust To Love", and the fine closer "Can't Stop The World". A surprisingly assured album, that carries alongside its demure directness, a touching astuteness. –Ben H

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