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The Go Go's
God Bless the Go Go's

Not every band can say they went from specializing in California punk to riding the new wave of surf-lovin popsters in the early eighties, but the Go-Go's did it all in stride. With hits like "We Got the Beat," "Vacation," "Lust to Love" and a cover of Fun Boy Three's "Our Lips are Sealed," Belinda, Charlotte, Jane, Gina and Kathy were hot like Bananarama and the Bangles in those days, during an overnight craze for sunny hits meshing 60's surfer rock and 70's punk.

The band's reign was short, but the Go Go's offered three albums. Their first two releases, Beauty and the Beat and Vacation, fared the best, but by the 1984 release of Talk Show, the girls were just that: all talk and no show. Cue in the drug addictions and a band split; the Go Go's were made for Behind the Music.

Unsurprisingly, the band's story did end up on the show in 2000, just a year before the release of God Bless the Go Go's, and four years before Jane's strange admittance back onto VH1 via the Surreal Life. Several solo attempts and greatest hits later, the girls are back with God Bless the Go Go's, where the band mocks their short-lived careers, producing rather unflattering effects.

The album's producers are comprised of Boston team Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Hole), who try to create a live sound on God Bless the Go Go's. The disc usually prefers rock over pop this time around, with the exception of a few immature rah-rah chorus lines, like the Let's go!/Let's Go! on "Stuck in My Car," reminiscent of Carlisle's cheerleading days. Billie Joe of Green co-writes "Unforgiven,"one of many singles bearing obsession to the band's past . "Apology" answers appropriately, proclaiming apology/I'm sorry/but I have no regrets. The opposite seems true several tracks later on the hippie-inspired "Daisy Chain," co-penned by Jill Sobule of "I Kissed a Girl" fame, where the girls are back to that tragic break in 1985 with lyrics of, unironically, regret (Flowers bloom/they fade too soon/what happened to/our daisy chain).

Aside from their inconsistency, however, the Go Go's worst no-no of all on the disc falls in their image perception; one involving taking on Catholic nun personas, a move that earned the band some heat from the Catholic League back in 2001. The Go Go's try too hard to get listeners to sympathize the band's personal loss, rather than just moving on and evolving as musicians. Seventeen years after their last palatable release, aside from the Catholic scandal and classic VH1 memorabilia, God Bless the Go Go's offers flat soda pop.

Crystal at 3/23/2005 01:50:00 PM

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