Robert R. (flicknife) from CHICAGO, IL Reviewed on 3/27/2010...
All the very best!
Glad I Still Have This
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 05/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""What Is Beat?" was the first compilation of English Beat released in America. The rather short lived band (only three albums) is probably more influential than their output would suggest. They were multicultural, multi generational (sax man Saxa was 50 years old when he joined the group) and politically savvy. Their music could invoke controversy without the confrontation of obscenity (see "Stand Down Margaret") and mix soul and reggae without having to resort to more trendy measures.As a result, their music has maintained a timeless feel to it. Songs like "Mirror In The Bathroom" or "Save it For Later" make much of what now passes for contemporary pop come up for the weak unoriginal pabulum that it is, and I long for the kind of band that could modernize a song like "Can't Get Used to Losing You" without it sounding like high camp. While the more recent "Beat This!" collection boasts a few more songs, if you can find "What Is Beat?" I'd pick it up for the live version of "Get A Job/Stand Down Margaret" and the unreleased single "Hit It." Either compilation will do, but you really should have some BEAT in your life."
S. A. Johnson | Bay Area, California | 10/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up on the English Beat and they are still one of my favorite bands today. There is something about the ska from that era that really appeals to me. My first exposure to them was in the early '80s when my brother was in college and the Beat were a college radio staple.
When I finally purchased "What Is Beat?" on tape, their first compilation album, I was in heaven. When my music collection converted to CD "What Is Beat?" was one of the first CDs I purchased. It was a slight disappointment, though, because the CD could not hold as much music as the tape did and a few songs had to be cut. Bummer.
When I found "Beat This!" a few years ago, I was thrilled. Even though there were many repeat songs, it also included some that were cut from the "What Is Beat?" CD and a few that were never included such as "Click Click" and "Drowning." I still have both CDs and each fulfills a different purpose.
Ultimately, though, these Best Of albums will never tell the whole story but they are a great start to this ska band. If you like "What is Beat?," be sure to check out their original albums as well for other gems that just didn't fit with the time limitations. "
The finest in British ska
John Edwards | New Rochelle, NY USA | 03/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own this compilation on a now-pretty-worn-out cassette and am strongly thinking about picking up the CD version, and you should do the same if you're a ska fan--or just a fan of fun, tuneful, catchy, well-made pop music. "What Is Beat?" provides a good survey of the band's too-short career, from the early classics "Mirror in the Bathroom" and "Twist and Crawl" off "I Just Can't Stop It" to the wonderful "Doors of Your Heart" off "Wha'ppen" and the brilliant "Save It for Later" and "I Confess" off "Special Beat Service." I would note that the versions of "Doors of Your Heart" and "I Confess" here are slightly truncated from their original album versions, but that doesn't spoil the party. The CD version lacks the cassette bonus track "Psychedelic Rockers," but fortunately "Psychedelic Rockers" isn't one of the Beat's more indispensable songs. Even if this album wouldn't transport you back to the lonely nights and crowded dance floors of high school, as it would me, it's well worth many a listen."