The Go-Go's were a culture club, a band who never would've sat together in the high school cafeteria. There were two sassy punks (Jane Wiedlin, Kathy Valentine), two blonde Real-Girl cheerleaders (Berlinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey), and an East Coast metalhead tomboy named Gina Schock. And in "This Town," they busted their cliques to salute their true audience: "We all know the chosen toys/ Of catty girls and pretty boys just kept their mouths shut and preened, while the catty girls took center stage to make up that face, jump in the race, and get dressed up to get messed up, whether flashing their underwear in public fountains or prowling by night. The Go-Go's eventually developed a knack for songs about men ("Turn to You," "Yes or No"), but their grand theme was always femme bonding: we rule the streets tonight, this town is our town, our lips are sealed.
Beauty and the Beat is the Go-Go's at their brashest, a record that broke out of the late-'70's L.A. hardcore scene to define the California mystique of the Square Pegs era. Gina Schock's drums flesh out the music's Buzzcocks/Ramones fixation with her own libidinally propulsive beat, making up for Carlisle's quavery voice. Jane Wiedlin establishes herself as the hyphen in the Go-Go's: their punk conscience as well as their most charmingly tuneful melodist. "Fading Fast" and "Skidmarks on My Heart" bookended many a breakup tape in 1982. while the heartbreaking "How Much More" celebrates the thrill of thwarted obsession. In "Our Lips Are Sealed" (at least the version not sung by Fun Boy 3) two catty girls roam the streets of Guyville getting hassled by jerks, but they strut proudly, they don't answer back, and when they look at them, they look right through them. Bells ring, cymbals crash, Jane chimes in with a seraphic lullaby, and you never doubt for a second that they're sticking together.



14. FREDA PAYNE: Band Of Gold/ The Easiest Way To Fall (1970)
 "We kissed after taking vows/ But that night on our honeymoon/ We stayed in separate rooms," Freda Payne, Invictus' answer to Diana Ross, confessed on this Ronald Dunbar and Edith Wayne-penned wedding night melodrama. While we'll never know the reason for the split--"I think it was about a situation where the woman was scared," reckons Payne, "but it's funny because most people have the opposite opinion, that it's about the guy"-- we can still thrill to Freda's poignant yet silky voiced plea for her husband's return and the sumptuous galloping Motown-esque background. Payne, who had first traded on her sultry torch singing tones with the big bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones respectively, had never wanted to voice a song centered around such an innocent character, but it;s a good job she did. It sold more than all her previous releases put together, reaching number 1 in the UK and number 3 Stateside, and also spawned a hit album of the same name.
Availability: Unhooked Generation Invictus CD


Hard to describe the crime in this three-into-one-must-go film without giving it all away. This tells three apparently unrelated stories (all based in Memphis) of a pair of Japanese tourists, a young Italian widow and a gang which rob a liquor store. Uniting all three stories are a gunshot and Elvis, either as a ghost or the singer of the ghostly Blue Moon which is playing on almost every radio anybody listens to. It's an odd film in which crime provides some kind of resolution and is a constant threat (as when the widow has to pay a wacko, who tells her the story of Graceland's hitchhiking ghost, just to leave her alone).


In 1988, Living Colour rode into the hard-rock arena on two mighty riffs:one,the colossal,avant-Zeppelin guitar line of "Cult of Personality";the other,the manifesto that African-Americans,inventors of rock'n'roll,have as much right to guitars,amps,and hair-waving arena rock as white boys do.Both were the work of guitarist Vernon Reid,m.v.p.of New York's downtown music scene,sometime journalist, and co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition-a support network for black, rock-playing musicians including Family Stand, Mother's Finest, Follow For Now, and 24-7 Spyz.While none of these bands went much further than B.R.C. compilation and major-label deals, Living Colour truly broke through to suburbia.Vivid--a politically-minded album of bombastic prog-rock-- sold two million copies and the band toured with the Rolling Stones, loudly challenging racist assumptions and the same people who jeered Prince on his Stones dates

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More