The Go-Go’s: “Beauty And The Beat”
Secondhand Vinyl Album (Purchased at Last Stop CD Shop, Sioux Falls, SD)
Original Release Date: 1981 A&M Records Inc.
My Rating: (4 Stars)
Our Lips Are Sealed
How Much More
Lust To Love
We Got The Beat
You Can’t Walk In Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep)
Skidmarks On My Heart
Can’t Stop The World
To begin, I can confidently state that from the first note of The Go-Go’s album, “Beauty And The Beat,” this blogger was certain she had time warped back to the most fun party of 1981. The key word in that last sentence is, “fun,” because that’s exactly the perfect description of these lawless ladies. Even before actually hearing this record, I found myself lured by its’ feminine wiles. Its’ promiscuous cover art combined with an, "Oh, so girly," pink album jacket made only one statement to this blogger. “I may not be smart, but I’m going to be a good time,” it seemed to be saying. Who can resist seduction like that?
Instantly as promised, this album begins with the lighthearted classic, “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Here lead vocalist, Belinda Carlisle, laments about the burdens of being the center of gossip. Of course, a song like this merely sparks more interest in the rumors. A listener finds themselves humming along to lyrics like, “Can you hear them Talk about us Telling lies Well that’s no surprise,” and they start to wonder, "What are the scantily clad women on this album cover up too?" Admittedly, the only answer this blogger could come up with was, "Obviously a good time." Through pure pop prose these women coolly shrug it all off by singing, “It doesn’t matter what they say In the jealous games people play Our lips are sealed.” To which all I could think was, “Ho-hum, nobody ever talks about me anymore.”
Later in the album the party vibe continues with another mega hit, “We Got The Beat.” Here, more than ever, The Go-Go’s start to resemble the ultimate girl gang. A listener is bombarded by an absolutely irresistible combination of upbeat tempo and repetitive lyrics that leave a person begging to join the club. During this song, I couldn’t help but feel like the nerdy girl who stays home on Saturday nights. I found myself listening to these ultra-cool chicks and wanted to assure them, “Hey, I got the beat too. No really, I do!”
Admittedly, the second side of, “Beauty And The Beat,” does have some weaker moments. However, these are quickly overshadowed by the stronger pieces on the album. Highlights from this record include songs like, “Fading Fast,” and, “Skidmarks On My Heart.” Here The Go-Go’s seem to channel the girl groups of the past. Despite an obvious lack of literary lingo, these songs possess the kind of charming metaphorical lyrics that were present in the music of the 1950's. During, “Skidmarks On My Heart,” the band declares, “Skidmarks on my heart You’ve got me in fifth You’re burning rubber like my love.” This blogger was amazed to realize these ridiculous lyrics actually became seriously likable when combined with a surf type musical arrangement. Likewise, during, “Fading Fast,” mediocre lyrics are combined with irresistible background vocals that inevitably give this song a retro feel. As a result, if I were asked to compare The Go-Go’s to any other band I would probably state they’re most like The Ramones. Not only do these ladies heartily accomplish a pop punk feel, they also give a respectful nod to the music of the past. I'm embarrassed to admit I thought The Ramones were the only punk band giving props to doo wop.
Finally, my favorite song on the album, “Beauty And The Beat,” is,“Lust To Love.” I believe it sums up my feelings towards this record the best. Carlisle sings, “Lust to love Was the last thing I was dreaming of And now all I want is just to love Lust turned to love.” During these lyrics all I can think of is how I almost didn’t buy this album when I saw it at the record store. “The Go-Go’s,” I thought. “Were they ever really that cool?” While pondering this, I turned the album over in my hands and noticed, in tiny print, a thank you message written by the band acknowledging the groups Madness and The Specials. “Wait, they were always super cool!” I instantly thought. Suddenly, my girly guilty pleasure transformed to true love. An all-girl pop punk band that writes tunes worthy of The Ramones. How did these women get so cool? I guess it’s fairly clear that we’ll never know, because as the Go-Go’s always said, “Our lips are sealed.”
"Our Lips Are Sealed": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3kQlzOi27M