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Beauty and the Beat

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Album Review

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. Prior to this, there had certainly been new wave hits — Blondie had been reaching the Top Ten for two years running — but the Go-Go’s ushered in the era of big, bright stylish pop, spending six weeks at the top of the U.S. charts and generating two singles that defined the era: the cool groove of “Our Lips Are Sealed” and the exuberant “We Got the Beat.” So big were these two hits that they sometimes suggested that Beauty and the Beat was a hits-and-filler record, an impression escalated by the boost the Go-Go’s received from the just-launched MTV, yet that’s hardly the case. Beauty and the Beat is sharp, clever, and catchy, explicitly drawing from the well of pre-Beatles ‘60s pop — girl group harmonies, to be sure, but surf-rock echoes throughout — but filtering it through the nervy energy of punk. With the assistance of Rob Freeman, producer Richard Gottehrer — a veteran of the Strangeloves (“I Want Candy”) who also wrote the girl group standard “My Boyfriend’s Back” — sanded down the band’s rougher edges, keeping the emphasis on the hooks and harmonies but giving the Go-Go’s enough kick and jangle that at times the group resembles nothing less than early R.E.M., particularly on “How Much More” and “Tonite.” But this isn’t Murmur; there is nothing murky about Beauty and the Beat at all — this is infectiously cheerful pop, so hooky it’s sometimes easy to overlook how well-written these tunes are, but it’s the sturdiness of the songs that makes Beauty and the Beat a new wave classic.

Customer Reviews

Good

This album I good but I've heard it redone so many times that it feels good to hear the original.

First and best

Even though their second and third albums were more polished and 'professional', this — their first — is easily their best. It's rockier (but still pop!), rawer (it has a refreshing 'demo' feel to it that contrasts nicely to other over-produced 80s tunes) and captures the band at their most passionate, fun and (in terms of the music biz, anyway) naive.

The classics of course are "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips Are Sealed". Other gems include "How much more", "Lust to love", "Fading fast" and the Belinda Carlisle penned "Skidmarks on my heart".

Speaking of Belinda C, this is NOT a Belinda album. The music sounds nothing like her solo stuff (although "Mad About You" could've been on a 4th Go-Go's album if there was one).

Great early 80's pop/punk/rock – and a not a drum machine or autotuner to be heared! x

The Original All Girl Band!

As a teen of the 80's, I can tell you it doesn't get much better than this. The Go-Go's inspired many teen girls. The upbeat, "rough yet polished" pop/rock is upbeat, fun and just good music. This album is definately their best, but the others are worth a listen for sure. They will go down as a fixture of 80's music. Hearing this album always takes me back to high school. A few Go-Go's songs are also on the soundtrack for "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion"....also a great 80's soundtrack. This is definately an album worth a buy if you are wanting an 80's fix.

Beauty and the Beat, Go-Go's
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Customer Ratings