The English Beat
1981: A&M/IRS 44797 5070 2
Boy oh boy is this a tough album to assess and describe. If you compare it to The Beats first album and the one which followed this, its 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 albums fatal weakness: if you dont happen to latch onto a tracks 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 albums other major weakness, although its not fatal, is its hideous cover art. The reissue offered something else but it was still pretty bad.
Comments © 2017 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.