Album #445 – Entertainment!

Album #445

The debut album by Gang of Four, Entertainment!, is a landmark in post-punk. Gang of Four are one of the most influential bands in that genre. From Flea to Kurt Cobain and R.E.M., many bands have drawn from Gang of Four’s unique sound. The cornerstone of this sound is the bass lines of bassist Dave Allen. Borrowing from funk, disco, reggae, dub and ska, Allen creates unique bass lines that made this group stand out from the rest. The lyrical content varies from songs about nearly every political event going on during this time to, what I think, are some of the greatest songs about love and sexual frustration ever written. Damaged Goods and I Found That Essence Rare are songs that should be apart of any breakup mixtape. I can identify with both, even though I have never been in a relationship. To me, that is their greatest achievement of all. Because of Dave Allen’s bass lines, all of the songs on Entertainment! can be danced too! Well, maybe slam danced too. They are upbeat, despite the sometimes bleak subject matter. Andy Gill’s guitar playing is also worth noting. He not only played guitar but, co-produced the album and came up with many of the concepts for the songs and album cover. Gill, along with lead singer Jon King, was the creative center of the band. Entertainment! is certainly one of the best debuts of the 1970’s and I agree with the critics that this album certainly is up there with The Clash and The Sex Pistols as one of the best debut albums of the punk era. Other highlights include: Natural’s Not In It, Not Great Men, Return The Gift, Glass, At Home He’s A Tourist, 5.45 (a great critique on media coverage of conflict complete with soundbites, title probably inspired by ITN’s  News at 5:45) and Anthrax. Overall, I give Entertainment!, 4.5 out of 5.

Next: Cheap Trick at Budokan by Cheap Trick

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