Monday, March 24, 2008

No. 422: The Best of the Girl Groups

Band: Various Artists
Album: The Best of the Girl Groups, Vol. 1 & 2
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: The girl groups of the early 1960s had an incredibly distinct sound and these collections cull most of the records we know as the girl group hits of the time. Many of the groups were one-hit wonders, but the whole of the collection is fantastic. Twenty-one of the 36 songs were top 10 hits, including seven no. 1 songs.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: The compilation sounds dated, but is still a grand collection.
Best song: I like "Leader of the Pack."
Worst song: "He's Got the Power" isn't great.
Is it awesome?: Yes.

I think I've mentioned that I am a total and complete sucker for female singers. I've got everything recorded by a slew of female indie artists, between Nina Nastasia, Cat Power and Tara Jane O'Neil. I love female voices.

These two records collect all the great early 1960s female group records we've all heard on our local oldies station. Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion" is on here, as is The Exciters' "Tell Him." It's got "Chapel of Love," "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "One Fine Day" and "The Boy from New York City."

"The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" is a classic, even before the CHer version. The song's simple yet beautiful lyrics describe the perfect man. Great arms/warm embrace, great eyes/size and charms/face. He acts great and she can squeeze him tight. What a man this fellow is.

My personal favorites are "My Boyfriend's Back" and "Leader of the Pack." The Angels tell the story -- later made into a pretty awesome/terrible 1980s zombie movie -- of a man angling towards a lady with the warning that her man is going to kick this dude's ass. The best lyric? "You're gonna be sorry you were ever born/'Cause he's kind of big and he's awful strong."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is awesome. Threatening violence.

I love "Leader of the Pack" if only for the awesomeness that is the sound effect. One of my complaints about modern music is the lack of sound effects. I love "Yellow Submarine" partially because the breakdown has a whole portion with longshoremen and nautical sounds. "Leader of the Pack" has a motorcycle revving with every chorus. How can you beat that?


Sadly, these collections are difficult to find, because having all these songs in one place is great.

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