Kathy J. (cosmickittypooh) from GOLDSBORO, NC Reviewed on 9/5/2006...
Vacation, We Got The Beat, alot of their best stuff
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More Than Just the Synth-Pop Hits
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 11/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I look back at the Go-Go's career in the 1980s, there are two interesting things that come to mind. The first is that the Go-Gos 80s career really only spanned a three year period from 1981 through 1984 in which they produced three albums ("Beauty and the Beat", "Vacation", and "Talk Show"). The second is that the Go-Gos were really much more than a "novelty" act. The Go-Gos got the reputation for being a novelty act probably because they were an all-female group that really appealed to the hey-dey of MTV's video days. But when you start to listen to much of the music made by the Go-Gos, you will really discover that this was a creative group that made some very good music. The collection "Go-Gos Greatest" includes 14 tracks from the three albums made by the Go-Gos in the 1980s and help to really give you a good feel for the music made by the group.
The Go-Gos were a quintet of five women - Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, and Jane Wiedlin. Belinda is often the best known of the Go-Gos as she went on to have a very successful solo career in the late 80s. However, much of the creativity of the Go-Gos emulated from lead guitarist and keyboardist Charlotte Caffey. While all of the Go-Gos would contribute to songwriting at one point or another, Charlotte would emerge as the lead songwriter with Jane as the secondary one (she authored 11 of the 14 tracks included on this collection - Jane would contribute to 7 tracks). Caffey would also go on to do some songwriting for Belinda Carlisle after the split of the Go-Gos.
The Go-Gos career was smack in the middle of the synth-pop revolution. While many of their biggest hits fall into this category ("Our Lips are Sealed", "We Got the Beat", "Vacation", and "Head Over Heels"), this was not the boundaries that the Go-Gos would be confined to. As I listened to many of the lesser known songs, I began to discover that this group had much more of a guitar edge than I ever thought. This was probably due to the fact that three of the members (Charlotte, Kathy, and Jane) were guitar players. As a result, the sound on many of the tracks has a pretty good guitar dose. No this isn't going to be Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton, but it isn't bad guitar work. If you even listen to the four classic synth-pop songs mentioned above, you will hear a good guitar influence mixed in to a lesser extent. The guitar edge seemed to emerge starting with the second ("Vacation") album and continue into the third album. It's worth noting that "How Much More" from the "Beauty and the Beat" album did have a good guitar edge. Much of the sound of the Go-Gos reminds me of the early Bangles from their debut album "All Over the Place". You can hear this guitar edge sound on such tracks as "Get Up and Go", "Beatnik Beach", "I'm the Only One", "Mercenary", "Turn to You" and of course "How Much More".
It is worth mentioning the song "You Thought" was written by two of the "forgotten" members of the band - Gina and Kathy. This song has a good synth-pop sound and doesn't get the credit it deserves among some of the more classic synth-pop songs made by the Go-Gos. This song also has its moments of a solid guitar work. Another good synth-pop song is "This Town" - this song has some terrific harmonies and Belinda does great on the vocals while also having its guitar moments. Belinda's vocals shine on the songs "Mercenary" and "How Much More" - she has those trademark "dig deep down" voice that makes it so distinctive.
As for the 14 old songs, one thing that I am not happy with is the ordering. I find that the best "Greatest Hits" collections are ones that arrange the songs in chronological order. This allows me to see how the band progresses over time. "Go-Gos Greatest" shuffles the order up quite a bit for the sole purpose of "mixing up" the songs". There doesn't even seem to be any logic to how the songs were arranged. While I do understand these songs were taken from just three albums, I do find this disappointing.
An interesting point is that perhaps the Go-Gos were confined by the era they were in. Of the 14 tracks that are included on the collection, there are only two songs over 4 minutes long. There are four songs that are under 3 minues long - this includes three of the four classic synth-pop songs: "Our Lips Are Sealed", "We Got the Beat", and "Vacation"). The rest of the songs are all in the 3 to 4 minute range. These short songs made the Go-Gos a very attractive commodity to 1980s Top 40 radio and MTV, but I do find the short songs to be disappointing in that in many instances they leave you wanting for more music.
There are no lyrics included with the collection. The corresponding songwriting credits for each song are listed. Each song is footnoted with its copyright year, but there are no references to the actual names of the three albums included. Since this is a greatest hits collection, I would have liked to see a short writeup on the history and impact of the band - especially during the three year hey-dey period. These gripes about the liner notes are minor. This is still a pretty good collection to get - it has a nice cross section of the Go-Gos portfolio of music and goes well beyond the "hits". If you are a deep Go-Gos fan, you probably are going to have all of these songs. If you are new to the Go-Gos, this is going to be an excellent place to start."
Pop Punk of the1980s. Nice Abstract of The Go-Go's First 3 A
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 10/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Go-Go's formed in 1978 and emerged from their ska punk roots to become goddesses of pop punk when "We Got the Beat" became an underground hit in 1980. The pop scene greeted The Go-Go's with a certain amount of surprise, it seemed, because the all-female band could play instruments and wrote most of their own songs. The contrast between their punk sensibility and their perky, poppy demeanor made for a curious, memorable image that suited the glossy cynicism of the 1980s. "Go-Go's: Greatest" is a best-of album covering the band's chart-topping hey day in the 1980s. The 14 tracks represent the 3 albums The Go-Go's recorded before their breakup in 1985. The ladies' line-up on "Greatest" is: Charlotte Caffey, lead guitar and keyboards; Belinda Carlisle, lead vocals; Gina Schock, drums and percussion; Kathy Valentine, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, and backup vocals; and Jane Wiedlin, rhythm guitar and backup vocals.
From 1981's "Beauty and the Beat", we have the #2 hit "We Got the Beat", the #20 hit "Our Lips Are Sealed", and "How Much More", "Lust to Love", and "This Town". From 1982's "Vacation", there is the #8 hit title track "Vacation", along with "Get Up and Go", "Cool Jerk", and "Beatnik Beach". 1984's "Talk Show" is represented by the #11 hit "Head Over Heels", #32 hit "Turn to You", and "You Thought", "I'm the Only One", and "Mercenary". "Head Over Heels" is undeniably sophisticated pop punk, in defiance of those tempted to write off The Go-Go's as a bubblegum band. The "Talk Show" album generally has a lyrical and musical sophistication beyond The Go-Go's 2 previous albums. It's pretty darn good music. Among the non-hits in this collection: "Lust to Love" is a solid rockin' love song that manages to create a sense of anticipation. "How Much More" sounds like a tribute to 1950s sock hop pop and "Beatnik Beach" to 1960s surfing tunes. "You Thought" expresses a bitter end to a relationship and has a more techno sound than the other tracks.
"Greatest" isn't The Go-Go's whole story, as the band reunited to record "Return to the Valley of The Go-Go's" in 1994 and "God Bless The Go-Go's" in 2001. But when it was released in 1990, "Greatest" was a pretty comprehensive hits package, and it's still a nice summary of the band's first wave, so to speak. The order of the songs on the CD flows all right, but it is not chronological. Unfortunately, no lyrics included."
Once a Go-Go fan always a Go-Go fan!
Paul W. Sager | Saint Louis, Missouri | 04/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Formed in the late 70s, the Go-Go's quickly became the poster women for the women in rock movement. Their popularity, launched with the release of their first album, Beauty and the Beat, quickly ended in the mid-80s with the departure of Wiedlin quickly follwed by Carlisle and Caffey.As for solo efforts, Carlisle emerged as the heavy hitter, but largely remains popular in overseas and all but forgotten in her home land. Don't second guess other solo Go-Go projects. Caffey formed the Graces in 1989 with then unknown singer Meredith Brooks. Wiedlin has done her own work and fromed fRosted but as been recently concentrating on her acting career.But this is all to say that the Go-Go's formed the foundation for all of these women's talents. Greatest showcases all of their hits from their three albums, Beauty and the Beat, Vacation and 1984's Talk Show.Included in this package is a reworked version of their 1982 cover version of Cool Jerk. The new version showcases trends in music and should have been released as a dance club maxi single.The Greatest album is just that...the greatest. Followed in 1994 with a box set, the Go-Go's never seem to fall out of the limelight. Check them out this summer as they relaunch their successful "reunion" tour across the land. Sources say a new album is in the works. What made the Go-Go's popular in the early/mid 80's could certainly work again!"
An '80s favorite
Erica Anderson | Minneapolis, MN | 07/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ever since the '80s, I have always adored the Go Go's music. I loved both them and The Bangles. Both bands were the best representative of the girl groups of the '80s. Their music was fun and catchy to listen to. Their music was a good mix of pop and punk music. Very infectious.I really don't remember how I got into the Go Go's except maybe that I always enjoyed listening to their songs on the radio and taping it off the radio (now their's an outdated activity...making mix tapes from the radio). For some odd reason, I have never really cared for "We Got the Beat", the band's biggest hit however I have always loved "Our Lips Are Sealed" and always will. I think what stuck out for me about that particular song was the visual of the girls dancing in the water fountain. I'm not really wild about "This Town" either. I've heard much worse songs than that and "We Got the Beat".Personally I prefer VH1's collection of the Go Go's music over this greatest hits compilation. The mixing on that cd is a lot better. The sound on this original compilation is a bit muddled. Nevertheless "Greatest" is a good Go Go's compilation. It is the perfect cd to throw into the cd player over the summer time. I wish music now was as fun as it was back in the '80s. There was an unspoken magic that I heard in the Go Go's music that I just don't hear in a lot of music today. Listening to "Greatest" is a nice trip down memory lane to a decade of cheesiness and excess (and I mean that in a good way :))."
A great collection for any music fan
Erica Anderson | 07/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a major music collector, and this CD is definitely in my top ten. Just a good mixture of crunchy rock, harmonious pop, and melodic tunes. No matter what your musical tastes are, you'll probably enjoy this one a lot."