5.0 out of 5 stars
It's The Listeners Who Are Blessed!, July 5 2003
Some things get better with age and this CD demonstrates that the Go-Go's are a prime example of this, even if they seem to be defying the passing of time themselves. In fact, I'll swear they're getting younger!
I was somewhat cautious about this album before I heard it, mainly because I so much wanted it to be good. The fact that the three new tracks on 'Return To The Valley Of The Go-Go's' had been sublime almost made the task harder.
The moment of truth arrived as the opening track kicked in and instantly I knew I was in safe hands - how could I ever have doubted them?! The strong opener of 'La La Land' was reinforced by the single 'Unforgiven' and as 'Apology' gripped me, it was evident that consistency was not going to be a failing of this set of songs. Just as I wondered if I might overdose on too much full-on power-pop bliss, 'Here You Are' softened the scene, with a devastatingly great vocal performance from Belinda in the chorus. As her voice changes register on the word "matter", your heart melts. Brian Wilson, master of that technique, would be proud.
Past this midway point, the pace picks up again but although the songs are up-tempo, they never run out of tricks and the hooks keep coming. Special mention must go to 'Throw Me A Curve', the lyrics of which deftly ridicule the media-led trend for women to be skeletal. Good tune, too! 'Talking Myself Down' features a piano break to rival the classic one in 'Head Over Heels', again adding a touch of magic to an already fine song.
My big favourite at the moment though is 'Daisy Chain', which closes the album (although being in the UK, I get the bonus track 'I Think I Need Sleep', which as an insomniac I shall make my personal anthem...). This reflective, slightly psychedelic song conveys the band's history with snap-shot lyrics that make for a very touching performance. When the backing vocals come in on the chorus, it is a heavenly moment.
So the songs are strong throughout but equally impressive is the playing. Was there ever a better name for a drummer than Gina Schock?! And was there ever a better drummer than Gina Schock? Add to that the bass skills of KV and you have a rhythm section strong enough to take on the world! It's almost greedy to have the dual guitar action of Charlotte and Jane as well... And then you take into consideration their collective vocals! This is before we even get to Ms Carlisle, whose voice is better than ever before.
If my maths is right, this means the Go-Go's are the best band in the universe and you owe it to yourselves to hear this album!! Unless you don't like music, of course...