12 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Only Ones were minor pop stars in their U.K. homeland in 1979 when Epic Records put out this U.S. collection of tracks from the band’s first two great British albums. The Only Ones were reductively dismissed stateside as “punk new wave” (and therefore bombed)—but a closer listen tells a different story. If songwriter Peter Perrett’s unkempt Dickensian rock star appearance somewhat explained the heroin ennui that would hinder him for years, here he plays it out like an energetic kid who grew up on Dylan, Syd Barrett, and The New York Dolls. The best songs (“You’ve Got to Pay,” “Lovers of Today,” “Out There in the Night,” “The Whole of the Law”) have the inescapable charm of a young, well-read, and fragile guitarist/storyteller who’s backed by a worthy band. The band’s absolute classic “Another Girl, Another Planet” is more than that—it’s one of the best pop songs of a generation (see affectionate covers by Belle & Sebastian, Blink 182, The Replacements, The Libertines, etc.) with a completely misunderstood junkie metaphor. Perrett was clever like that.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Only Ones were minor pop stars in their U.K. homeland in 1979 when Epic Records put out this U.S. collection of tracks from the band’s first two great British albums. The Only Ones were reductively dismissed stateside as “punk new wave” (and therefore bombed)—but a closer listen tells a different story. If songwriter Peter Perrett’s unkempt Dickensian rock star appearance somewhat explained the heroin ennui that would hinder him for years, here he plays it out like an energetic kid who grew up on Dylan, Syd Barrett, and The New York Dolls. The best songs (“You’ve Got to Pay,” “Lovers of Today,” “Out There in the Night,” “The Whole of the Law”) have the inescapable charm of a young, well-read, and fragile guitarist/storyteller who’s backed by a worthy band. The band’s absolute classic “Another Girl, Another Planet” is more than that—it’s one of the best pop songs of a generation (see affectionate covers by Belle & Sebastian, Blink 182, The Replacements, The Libertines, etc.) with a completely misunderstood junkie metaphor. Perrett was clever like that.

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