N. Ciasullo | Philadelphia, Pa | 06/18/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Why do these record companies put out remasters and then remove a song or two from them? One has to wonder where Rat Race disappeared to? It isn't on this cd anymore. Oh, nevermind. I found it on the Hits disc. How Lame. They did the same thing with the remaster of English Beat. Don't buy this crappy version of this cd unless you either can't find the original issue or you absolutely have to have the video of Ghost Town (a pretty good vid) and Rat Race (a pretty crappy vid)."
An odd, odd album...but great!
Paul Minot | Waterville, ME United States | 08/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with everybody else that the first Specials album was probably the greatest ska album ever--a fist-pumping pleasure from beginning to end. However, I cannot help but admire Jerry Dammers' artistic courage in refusing to repeat himself, and instead driving the band into new territory on this album. The result was a unique work--incorporating hard ska, dub, lounge singing, and muzak (!) influences into one really strange trip of a record.
Like the first record, it is a journey from beginning to end. But while the debut album was a studio recreation of a live gig, this is a dyspeptic trip into studio hell, opening with a lively cover of the standard "Enjoy Yourself", and ending in a sardonic port-mortem version of the same. In between the band meanders through all sorts of studio space, harsh and mellow, on their way to their ultimate demise, with the same biting lyrics (but darker here) and great playing that the band displayed on its debut.
It's fantasticly weird art-rock album, done by the world's best ska band. It's a terrific companion to the first record, and if the band pretty much dissolved afterward at least they finished playing their "A" game, in my opinion. If you wanted a repeat of the first record, well, small wonder that you're disappointed. But then, you would have been anyway."