Album #481 – Beauty and the Beat

Album #481

The Go-go’s became an instant hit when their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, was released in 1981. All the members were veterans of the Los Angeles punk scene in the late 70’s. All five members came together and formed a band that got many girls to pick up guitars and write songs. Belinda Carlisle is at the center of this band. Her voice is distinctive, yet fits the sound of the group. Kathy Valentine and Gina Schock are a powerful rhythm section and guitarists Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey, serve as the band’s main songwriters. Together, they were an unbeatable force in the early 80’s. Two of their biggest hits are included: Our Lips Are Sealed (written by Wiedlin and her boyfriend at the time Terry Hall of the Specials, more on that classic

here: and We Got The Beat. Both songs were HUGE hits and are instantly connected to the 1980’s. Many critics found the album to be cliched and too hooky and poppy. But, the Go-Go’s captured the essence of what it was like to be young, female and in love. Their songs are clearly more power pop driven and less punk influenced. It’s safe to say that New Wave music got a big boost by the Go-Go’s. The album being released around the time of MTV’s debut, didn’t hurt either and gave the band a huge profile on the new music video channel. After the Go-go’s, many bands, both male and female got signed to record labels and made music videos on MTV. It can be said that Beauty and the Beat was the first album that became big in part, due to the rise of music video. The Go-Go’s are mostly still together. They broke up in 1985. Belinda Carlisle went on to a successful solo career and Jane Wiedlin also went solo, with minor success. The group has reformed many times since the mid-90’s but, sadly bassist Kathy Valentine was kicked out of the group a couple of years ago even giving up her future rights to band royalties and profits. The songs may be upbeat and sunny but, there definitely was a dark side to the group. They were former punks after all. Other highlights include: How Much More, Tonite, This Town, Fading Fast, Automatic and Skidmarks on My Heart. Overall, I give Beauty and the Beat, 5 out of 5. 

Next: No Sleep ‘Till Hammersmith by Motorhead

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