Before Jackson decided he was an artiste and began experimenting with big-band swing and classical music, he was a snotty punk who looked at other people's relationships with a jaundiced eye. His 1979 debut contains severa... more »l of his best-known hits--"Sunday Papers," "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" and "Fools in Love," plus under-recognized classics like "Baby Stick Around." The simple four-man rock & roll sound suits Jackson's young voice perfectly, and the songs have a pop snap that Jackson unfortunately abandoned as his career progressed. --Steve Knopper« less
Before Jackson decided he was an artiste and began experimenting with big-band swing and classical music, he was a snotty punk who looked at other people's relationships with a jaundiced eye. His 1979 debut contains several of his best-known hits--"Sunday Papers," "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" and "Fools in Love," plus under-recognized classics like "Baby Stick Around." The simple four-man rock & roll sound suits Jackson's young voice perfectly, and the songs have a pop snap that Jackson unfortunately abandoned as his career progressed. --Steve Knopper
John S. (jayhawkjohnn) from TOPEKA, KS Reviewed on 11/2/2015...
I had this on my wish list for 5-6 months so was happy to get it to listen to. I first heard the 2-3 big hits from it while in 7th-8th grade & now i'm over 45 & I had never heard all of the songs. Maybe joe would have stayed near the top of music world in 80s if he had kept this kinda sound after nt& day from 82. Sure I like the songs from look sharp & I have 1 other cd from him but don't think I need any more of his cds in my collection, look sharp rocks out in a cool poppy kinda way.
One of the great pop albums of all time.
Scott M. Blish | 04/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Jackson's "Look Sharp!" is one of the few albums in any genre of music that contains no weak tracks whatsoever. The consistency of excellence on this album never ceases to amaze me whenever I listen to it, and it's extremely unfortunate that there are more good songs on this album than on all the rest of the admittedly extremely talented Jackson's albums combined. And for my money, "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" was the top pop single of 1979, and "Look Sharp!", the song, wasn't far behind.If you don't think that a pop album can be a start-to-finish masterpiece, listen to "Look Sharp!" and be very quickly disabused of that notion. I just wish that Jackson could have sustained this torrid pace through some of his other albums, but that would be a little much to ask of anybody.Obviously the greatest album that Joe Jackson will ever make, and one of the 100 greatest albums in the history of pop and rock. Get it"
One of the most purely perfect albums of all time.
Scott M. Blish | 12/31/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How often have you bought a CD only to find out that only 2 or 3 tracks were worth listening to? This is not one of those CDs. Joe Jackson has put out some enjoyable and even intriguing work since, but this, his 1979 debut, is still the best thing he's ever done. Every single song is a gem."
You Gotta Look Sharp!
Samhot | Star Land | 03/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's easy for many -- especially music industry writers -- to dismiss Joe Jackson as a pop musician who possessed nothing more than delusions of grandeur, due to his forays into jazz and classical shortly after his first two smash albums. A pompous musician, or a true artist? Regardless of what side you're on, there's one thing you can't deny: Joe Jackson was/is one crafty, talented S.O.B., and I feel he's a force to be reckoned with.
_Look Sharp!_ is a smash album with ridiculously catchy tunes, infectious melodies, cynical and ambivalent lyrics, and snappy rhythms that'll be impossible *not* to bop your head to. There is literally not one boring, unlistenable tune to be found here: every track is jam-packed with energy, taste and charisma. While the lyrics are quite sarcastic (and hilarious in spots), the music is impossibly upbeat, and refrains from depressing wallowing: leave it to wisecracking Joe to turn something so self-deprecating and sarcastic into something peppy and upbeat -- it almost makes you wonder if Joe is celebrating his own dissatisfactions with love and life. Either way, infectiousness and intelligence are so rare to come by in one package. But Joe Jackson delivers big-time in this department. "One More Time" is a perfect example of how Joe makes something miserable sound so peppy and fun: listen to those ironic, almost masochistic lyrics. Yet the music is so driving, tasty and energetic. Of course, many already know "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" featuring those semi-hilarious, yet reflective lyrics, and the muted riff on the verses. "Throw It Away" is a fast-paced, energetic rocker, with Joe howling in certain parts of the track. The title track many may have heard as well: a snappy, tasty number exhibiting excellent musicianship. Listen to the sophisticated arrangement in the vocal harmonies during the closing parts of the chorus. "Fools In Love" is a reggae-rock number that pretty much speaks for itself, title-wise: the lyrics and Joe's vocal delivery crack me up hysterically. Hilarious stuff. And later, to close out the album, "Got The Time" is a fast-paced, energetic rocker in the style of "Throw It Away."
Want something ludicrously catchy and snappy? Want something subtly sarcastic and sneering, but at the same time, utterly reflective, moving and funny? Want some upbeat music good for cruising with your girlfriend, or otherwise? Pick this album up, along with _I'm The Man_. Both are essential Joe Jackson albums. "
Timeless rock and roll
Samhot | 02/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you play this CD loud and really listen to it, by the time you're done, you feel like you've experienced something. Then you have no idea what to play next that could match the energy of this CD. The funny thing is that the young people I work with have never heard of Joe, yet if this was released new today, it would be a HUGE seller - the music here is timeless. Now if they only picked the best songs (instead of the weakest) to play on the radio, maybe Joe could find favor with the masses."
Joe's electrifying debut--brilliant songwriting that beats C
Dave | United States | 12/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Jackson's debut album "Look Sharp!" was recorded in 1978 & originally released in January of 1979, & what a superb debut it is. Yes, the similarity between Jackson and Elvis Costello (the latter of whom already had two albums out prior to 1979) are inevitable, but Joe simply had Elvis beat in terms of both vocal power and sheer songwriting ability.
Clearly this album was a cathartic experience for Joe--track upon track shows him letting off a ton of steam, & when you match this with the consistently deathless hooks, & punchy performances from the original Joe Jackson Band, the result is an album that is simply electrifying. This is one of those albums where the big hit is merely the tip of the iceberg--"Is She Really Going Out With Him?" is certainly a good tune, but it's kind of thin and annoyingly in-your-face--it makes perfect sense that Joe has come up with various different reworkings of this song over the years for live performance, seemingly as a compromise--this way the fans can't accuse him of totally avoiding this signature tune, yet it also gives Joe the satisfaction of knowing he's not merely pandering to his audience. "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" gets totally blown away by most of the rest of the songs on this album. In general, he sticks with hyperactive "New Wave"-ish rock & roll throughout the album, and it really feels like one of those albums that gets knocked out very quickly, which it was. That's not to say though that there's no variety--he gets in a strong dose of reggae on the sarcastic media slam "Sunday Papers" and on the mellow "Fools In Love", and there's also a funkiness to the ultra-catchy "(Do The) Instant Mash" which has incredibly witty & highly amusing lyrics, as well as an infectious, bluesy guitar lick. "Pretty Girls" is a blast--it starts off humorously similar to Manfred Mann's "Do Wah Diddy", & the song is about guys being utterly powerless when it comes to living in a world full of beautiful girls, & expresses a desperate desire for it to be otherwise with some truly mind-blowing lyrics. Each 'side' (in vinyl terms) ends with a thrilling fast-paced gem--"Throw It Away" is a cathartic rant, & the uncanny "Got the Time" is about the frantic rush people find themselves in to get things done. The uptempo, pleading album opener "One More Time", the bouncy feel-good pop of "Baby Stick Around", & the strutting title track are all gems as well. As much credit as Joe deserves, you've really got to hand it to Graham Maby (bass guitar), Gary Sanford (guitar), and Dave Houghton (drums)--their performances on this album are incredible. Few artists in music history have been as tirelessly determined to show their versatility & to make 'Big Statements' as Joe Jackson has--the result has been a career with considerable ups and downs, however, this debut album left no doubt about Joe's songwriting genius. To put it a certain way, this is where it all began for Joe--"Look Sharp!" is, without question, a must-have album. This standard CD version is perfectly fine, & it's certainly not a bad deal if you see it dirt cheap, however in 2001, this album was re-released with 2 bonus tracks, & that version is unquestionably preferrable to this older one and is worth paying a bit more for."