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The Best of the Rubettes

The Rubettes

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Album Review

This tight and tuneful collection covers the career of the Rubettes, an English group who earned several hits throughout Europe during the 1970s by synthesizing classic pop melodies with modern production techniques. Although superficially tagged as a glam group on the basis of a few singles like "I Can Do It," The Best of the Rubettes reveals there was much more to this group than glam rock. However, that doesn't mean glam rock fans won't find plenty to like on here: "Julia" is a mid-tempo love lament that pits raunchy guitar riffs against forceful, crashing drum beats, and "The Sha Na Na Song" layers the title chant over a relentless, huge-sounding drum beat in the glam rock tradition. Other tracks take the group's penchant for older sounds in interesting directions: "I Can Do It" slyly blends a Chuck Berry-style guitar riff with thickly layered harmonies reminiscent of the Beach Boys to create a sly bit of retro rock, and "Baby I Know" is a credible and well-crafted stab at country-pop that became a Top Ten smash in England. The Best of the Rubettes also includes two brilliant recreations of the Phil Spector "wall of sound" production style in "Tonight" and "Sugar Baby Love," a pair of tunes that combined grandiosely romantic melodies with lush string arrangements to become huge European hits. The Rubettes even tackle the message song genre with "Under One Roof," a socially conscious song that tackles taboo subjects like homophobia and child abuse. Although this song is shamelessly manipulative in its tear-jerking lyrics and melody, the song is undeniably heartfelt and moving. All in all, The Best of the Rubettes is a fine, diverse collection of carefully crafted pop that proves the Rubettes deserve to be remembered as more than one of glam rock's lesser lights. ~ Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi

The Best of the Rubettes, The Rubettes
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