The English Beat

1981: A&M/IRS 44797 5070 2

  1. Doors of Your Heart
  2. All Out to Get You
  3. Monkey Murders
  4. I Am Your Flag
  5. French Toast (Soleil Trop Chaud)
  6. Drowning
  7. Dream Home in New Zealand
  8. Walk Away
  9. Over and Over
  10. Cheated
  11. Get-a-Job
  12. The Limits We Set

Boy oh boy is this a tough album to assess and describe. If you compare it to The Beat’s first album and the one which followed this, it’s a goddamned mess but one in which nearly every track is worthy. (Exceptions: “The Limits We Set,” which seems to have had topical relevance in its local moment just then and only then, and “Cheated,” which may have relevant content but is buried by its own sonic murkiness.)

Contemporary relevance is this album’s fatal weakness: if you don’t happen to latch onto a track’s sound and/or lyrical twists, you can easily miss what the song was actually about, because the lyrical references are to incidentals that were givens or even incendiary then (and only in the UK) but quickly became matters of historical interest as more developments rendered them obsolete. (Not unlike what gave rise to the term OBE, for Overtaken By Events, that became an element of press briefings during the latter Balkan wars of 1999, or for that matter the flat-out lies of Trumpville Inc. as we plunge down the toilet of the 2010s.)

Actually, this album’s other major weakness, although it’s not fatal, is its hideous cover art. The reissue offered something else but it was still pretty bad.