Go-Go's - Beauty And The Beat
The Go-Go's were, quite unfairly, accused of being the creation of some record company and, despite the two singles from this album which were released and got huge success - "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips Are Sealed" - never really managed to escape the tag. For one thing the Go-Go's wrote their own stuff. For seconds, they did not seem to conform to the image which a record company would have set out for them if commercial success was their driving force. The Go-Go's might have been female, but they did not go round wearing skimpy revealing clothes and pouting seductively at a largely male (presumably spotty and masturbation-friendly) audience. If anything, most of the Go-Go's fans I recall from the days when the band first emerged were women.
Many all-female outfits tend to get overlooked or sidetracked for reasons which have nothing to do with the music. The physical appearance of the band members is often given a much higher prominence in all-female bands. Some of the bands use it. Some loathe it. The Go-Go's were perhaps the first who successfully ignored it. The cover showed them draped in towels with face packs on. Here was an all-female group who were not going to pander to stereotype. The cover was a statement in itself - judge us on our music not on our looks.
And it is the music which is the biggest appeal of the Go-Go's. Right from the opener, "Our Lips Are Sealed", you know you are into something good. Driving drum beats and twinkling guitars, this was pop-rock with a refreshingly unadorned female twist. And it carries on from there in the same vein. "How Much More" has a really infectious cascading guitar hook. "Lust to Love" shows that the band could move away from the high school oriented pop and do something a bit more deep and thoughtful. "We Got the Beat" was almost autobiographical in the way it defines the band's music. In fact, with a few exceptions, you could almost consider this as a singles album (another reason the band got that "manufactured" tag). And if there is an exception it is the truly awful "Skidmarks on My Heart". Every time I think of it I cringe, not the least because "skidmarks" (at least in the UK) has an entirely different meaning, one which is less than appealing.
When all is said and done, this is fantastic stuff. It is pure pop magic. If there is one criticism I have it is that the album is far too short, coming in at well under forty minutes. This, however, should not detract too much from the overall appeal of the album. The tracks stay with you and it is just great to dig it out and be transported back to those days when it came out. Sadly, the Go-Go's could never repeat this. Drugs took their toll and then the girls began bitching at each other. Belinda Carlisle went on to have a moderately successful solo pop career once she had found God, while Jane Weidlin, who was the real creative driving force behind the band in my view, released a couple of singles, but then disappeared. I guess some bands are destined just to shine ever so brightly, and then fade into nothing.
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on 2012-06-02 CharlesMartel Said:
The Go-Go's have reformed - with the original line up - and now doing gigs again in the US. Go see them!