- LP Record (Oct 17 1990)
- Format: Import
- Label: A&M
- ASIN: B00008ENQA
- Other Editions: Audio CD | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
And, surprise surprise, the original eight B-sides are every bit as good. They show the Buzzcocks branching out a bit into new directions, but they always manage to drive home great songs, like the harshly melodic punk epic "Autonomy", the bitter rockabilly of "Just Lust" ("There's bed in your eyes, but there's nothing to trust...just lust."), and the Cole Porter-esque "Lipstick" ("Does the lipstick on your lip stick on my face?"), along with any other you'd care to pick.
So if it has all that, why only four stars? Well, it's the bonus tracks. If you're going to add material to a masterwork, the supplementals need to be as brilliant as the original material, otherwise the work will suffer as a whole. And that's just what happened here. Parts 1-3 suffer from absolutely deplorable production (thank heavy drug use for that...just say "no", kids), with the vocals buried at the bottom of the mix. And beyond that, the songs are weaker, too. The band was breaking apart at this point and as a result the creative focus was wandering quite a bit.
You DO get two bona fide classics: Shelley's wistful "You Say You Don't Love Me", and Diggle's fiery character sketch "Why She's a Girl from the Chainstore", the only track from Parts 1-3 where the production isn't bad enough to ruin the song. Each of these sound just fine next to other classics like "Love You More" and "Everybody's Happy Nowadays". But the other six tracks range from pretty good (Diggle's "Running Free", which could have been a classic if not for vocals-at-the-bottom junkie production and, believe it or not, the excessive use of cheesy keyboards...in a Buzzcocks song!) to absolutely unlistenable (Shelley's terrible "Are Everything", easily beating out "Hollow Inside" as the worst Buzzcocks song of all time...to give you an idea of how bad it is, Heaven 17 covered it.)
This CD is not a bad purchase at all. It's got the complete Buzzcocks UK 7" singles discography. And as the Buzzcocks rank with the Beatles when it comes to singles bands, this is a great album. But the more enjoyable listen is unquestionably the more compact US version, which is why I must give the UK version 4 stars.
Which brings me to my next point (how convenient). Pete Shelly sure knows how to write. Sophomoric lyrics of the afformentioned song aside, Shelly's words are powerful, introspective, and love-lorn ("Ever falln in love with somebody you shouldn't have fallen in love with?"). They perfectly capture the feelings of teenage angst without being whiny. This makes the songs surprisingly honest, and allows listiners to identify with the permenently blue lead singer. I guess this means that the Buzzcocks sacrifice a ton of punk credentials for that, but does it really matter? If the music is enjoyable, then what's the harm in a bit of genre-bending?
Hard-core punkers dismiss the Buzzcocks as being insufficiently punk, comparing them to the shi*ty "pop-punk" bands of today. What they fail to realize is that Shelly and Co can write good, entertaining songs, while Good (bad) Charolette and Simple Plan cannot (The 90's pop-punk scene has got to be one of the bigest musical disasters since Bette Midler. If I hear another whiny pre-pubescent "punker" whine about some girl just because Blink one-eighty-what-the-hell-ever did it, I'm gonna explode. But I digress). In fact, if you really want, you don't have to call the Buzzcocks punk. Call them rock, call them pop, call them whatever the hell you want, just ENJOY the MUSIC.