The Go-Go’s – Beauty and the Beat (1981)
My blog traffic is about to explode.
Alas, not because of a sharp increase in the quality of writing.
Not even because this is the album review, after sitting through 317 others, that the masses were eagerly awaiting.
Instead, it’s because a young man from Stratford, Ontario recently sang a similarly titled song, Beauty and a Beat. Since I’ve tagged both that song name and the singer, I’m expecting many will inadvertently end up here.
And will they ever be disappointed that this is both the first & last time that (singer in question) Fever symptoms will be discussed on this site!
Despite the wince-inducing apostrophe in the band name, The Go-Go’s shouldn’t be dismissed as a gimmick: look, they’re all girls! Writing songs AND playing instruments, oh my!
Instead, this debut should be appreciated for what it is: likeable, energetic, and fun. Written & recorded by 5 musicians that also happened to share the same gender.
I think of Beauty and the Beat as a good palate cleanser.
If I read a really dense, dark, depressing book, before diving into another one like it, I enjoy fitting in a quick, light read in between. A similar approach typically works well with movies & music and it certainly does the trick here.
This is another of those records where the biggest hit (We’ve Got The Beat) is also among its least interesting moments; Our Lips are Sealed and How Much More were two of the stronger tracks in my opinion.
Then again, mediocrity tends to lead to better sales, so it’s just as well I’m not in charge of releasing singles!
How Much More was the standout in my books for another reason: its resemblance to a great Elvis Presley tune, (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame.
I wouldn’t dare accuse How Much More of being a rip-off as my beloved Smiths borrowed the same feel & chord pattern in Rusholme Ruffians (they later acknowledged the similarities with a clever medley on the live album Rank).
Now are The Go-Go’s in the same echelon as perhaps the biggest music icon of the 20th Century or a band once dubbed the most influential artist ever?
As the lawyers might say on my wonderful wife’s current netflix show of choice, The Good Wife, ‘Objection your Honour, leading question!’
Much like Elvis & The Smiths however, did The Go-Go’s record some commercially & critically successful pop music that holds up well, even decades later?
If we’re talking about the songs from Beauty and the Beat, no objections from me.