All my life, I have been infatuated with the music industry even to the point where I would check the Top 100 Billboard charts for fun– as a nine-year-old! I have been labeled as a “fangirl” by my peers, which bothered me because music is something I am passionate about, and I have always held strong opinions on music I did or didn’t enjoy. More recently, I have taken interest in reviewing songs, records, and artists and turned it into a hobby. I write reviews and analyses on some of my favorite albums such as Taylor Swift’s Speak Now or When Facing Things We Turn Away From by Luke Hemmings. Despite the thousands of hours I have spent listening to music in my seventeen years of living, there is still so much I haven’t heard, and with this being said, my dad (who is a more avid music listener than I am, and probably the person I got my passion for it from; it runs in the family, I guess) and I came up with the idea of “First Listens”. He presents an album, I give my honest review after listening to it for the first time, and put my educated Generation Z perspective on it.
The Go-Go’s debut, Beauty and the Beat, redefined pop-punk. The 1981 album skyrocketed to #1 and made The Go-Go’s the first all-female band to dominate the charts with songs they wrote and performed on their own. Beauty and the Beat was certified pop perfection and blew listeners away, creating a guideline for future bands to come– however, this is far from what the Go-Gos wanted. The band had no intention of becoming such a dominating force in the pop industry, and rather dismissed the thought of the scene in total. When hearing the full album for the first time, the band even claims they “wept” because the production rather betrayed their roots.
In fact, keyboardist Charlotte Caffey, was “terrified” when she introduced the demo of their smashing hit “We Got the Beat” because she knew the other girls would dislike the pop anthem, and even “kick her out of the band,” but the girls recognized a well-written song with a fun, upbeat dynamic, and instantly knew it was a song that would augment their ambitions and dreams. Despite the initial distaste for the record’s unconventional style, audiences and critics loved it and propelled the Go-Gos into popular music’s warm embrace.
Beauty and the Beat maintains an undertone of intense vocals and drumming, but within the first couple of measures in the album opener, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, there’s a strong, pop counterpoint to the punk texture, but it is easy to fall into the cracks– the album can become monotonous because some of the songs run together. For example, there are structural similarities in “Skidmarks on My Heart” and “How Much More”, and with a similar structure, a record can come off as repetitive and threaten boredom. Another technical flaw is the melodies tend to get drowned out by overbearing synths– but in the Go-Go’s case, they still succeed with thrills that scream, “GIRLS NIGHT OUT!”
Beauty and the Beat is posh, precise, intelligent, but still keeps the foundations of at-the-core punk girls simply having fun. BatB totally made me want to call my best friends, ask them to come over, get ready, and go out on the town with “Tonite” blaring from my car’s speakers!