Beauty and the Beat: 30th Anniversary Edition
By David Chiu
Though certainly not the first all-female rock band, the Go-Go’s were certainly one of the first commercially successful ones when their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, hit the Number One spot on the Billboard album charts about 30 years ago. And it yielded two major hit songs in “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat.” With those achievements aside, however, Beauty and the Beat is a solid, if perhaps now underappreciated, record—it’s a time capsule of the spunk and vitality of the Los Angeles New Wave music scene of the time. But not only does it capture an era of early ‘80s music, it also pays tribute to the ‘60s girl group sound, especially on tracks such as the haunting slow ballad “Automatic” and “Fading Fast.” With the exception of a few serious songs, Beauty and the Beat is a fun record marked by some tuneful rockers such as “Can’t Stop The World,” “Tonite” and “Skidmarks on My Heart.” Beauty and the Beat features the distinct stamp of the individual players–Belinda Carlisle’s charismatic Valley Girl-like vocals, Gina Schock’s pummeling drums, Charlotte Caffey’s solid lead guitar lines, and the rhythm tandem of Jane Wiedlin and Kathy Valentine—and their collective energy is what make this record memorable. This special edition of the record comes with a live performance from Boston in 1981, noteworthy because it contains a live performance of “Vacation,” a song that would later appear on their second album and become another Go-Go’s classic.