Reason #493 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: I Just Can’t Stop It!
The Specials had more street cred, but the Beat had the songs. I remember getting the cassette of this for Christmas, along with my shiny new Sony Walkman, and generally just playing the crap out of it until the tape broke. I didn’t know who Margaret Thatcher (a frequent lyrical target of The Beat) was at the time, and I didn’t care. All I knew was that the music sounded exotic and fun. Yes it’s ska but at its heart the songs on here were pure pop. Mirror in the Bathroom, Tears Of A Clown (not released on the English version but thankfully it was on the Canadian one), Ranking Full Stop and every other song was fantastic. If you only buy one album by The (English) Beat this is the one to get. Or, if you’re a fanatic like me, get the totally reasonably priced box-set, The Complete Beat. It’s got the other two albums (Special Beat Service and Wha’ppen?) plus a whole bunch of tasty B-Sides and BBC Sessions. All for under $40!
In 2012 the Beat re-released their entire catalog complete with bonus tracks and remastered sound. If you can find it I’d recommend getting the box set Complete Beat. Believe me, once you get hooked on this band you’ll want everything.