Thursday, February 7, 2008
No. 358: Singles Going Steady
Band: The Buzzcocks
Album: Singles Going Steady
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: In the pantheon of early punk rock pioneers, Manchester's Buzzcocks certainly belong in the conversation. This 1979 compilation of the band's early singles is a furious tear through sexual lyrics, awesome hooks and a sneering vocal performance.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Punk rock is often simple and this compilation is no different.
Best song: "Orgasm Addict" is clever and "Love You More," is interesting, but "Ever Fall in Love?" is brilliant.
Worst song: "Oh Shit!" is dumb.
Is it awesome?: Sure.
I'm a pretentious fuck.
I imagine anyone reading this knows that I'm a pretentious fuck. I often shoot down some pretty accessible stuff, I despise the "California sound" of the 1970s (save for Linda Ronstadt and that's only because I have a crush on her) and the albums I choose for "Unlisted" are of the indie rock genre (for the most part).
I've tried to lay this out in my biases and it shows up in a lot of my pieces for this site. So, you know, sorry.
For today, it would be incredibly stupid to say that I don't like "Singles Going Steady." The Buzzcocks are a seminal punk band and the band's love of hooks is one of the key pieces of the formulation of the genre. The band used awesome melodies in songs like "Ever Fall in Love?" -- probably the band's best song -- and quirky sexual/political lyrics ("Orgasm Addict," "Just Lust," "Love You More," etc.) are amazing. Hell, even the blissed out excitement of "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" is great.
But, my big complaint with a lot of punk rock remains, as well. A song like "Oh Shit!" is based on easy (facile, I'd say) repetition and the shock of bad words. Well, hooray. That's real mature.
Again, this just speaks to me inability to really embrace punk rock's earliest purveyors. I love the Clash, but the other late '70s/early '80s punk rock never really resonated with me much. I prefer the stuff they influenced (grunge and hardcore, basically) than the originals.