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The Specials - More Specials (Cover Artwork)

The Specials

The Specials: More SpecialsMore Specials (1980)
2 Tone Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's all in the title–More Specials delivers on everything that made the Specials' first LP so great. More punk energy, more two-tone ska rhythms, more blending English humor mixed with Jamaican songwriting. It's definitely a sophomore album, diminishing returns and all, but that quality has l.
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It's all in the title–More Specials delivers on everything that made the Specials' first LP so great. More punk energy, more two-tone ska rhythms, more blending English humor mixed with Jamaican songwriting. It's definitely a sophomore album, diminishing returns and all, but that quality has led to it become one of ska's more underrated albums.

Given that The Specials had some monstrous tunes ("A Message to You Rudy," "Little Bitch"), More Specials can't help but feel like a retread. But it's also such a remarkably solid, smartass album. A cover of "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)" announces the record on a snarky note, calling for the listener to give into life's revelry before he/she dies (Choice lyric: "My name is Terry and I'm going to enjoy myself first"). Frontman Terry Hall sounds more assured on the mic this time around.

Speaking of mic control, toaster Neville Staple has a more pronounced presence here as well, especially on tracks "Man at C&A," "Sock It to 'Em J.B." and "Stereotype/Stereotypes, Pt. 2." Staple's chants give the songs a more pronounced dub vibe. The Specials is great, but More Specials actually feels closer to dub spirit.

Hall and Staple complement each other lyrically as well as musically. Staple has a more serious tone, usually with some sort of socio-political conscience at play (well, besides the song where he just lists James Bond movie titles). Hall is way more sarcastic (Per the chorus to "Pearl's Cafe:" "It's all a load of bollocks"). Between the two, More Specials finds a nice equilibrium.

Boosted by some choice guest stars (the Go-Go's, Lee Jay Thompson from Madness), More Specials is better than its reputation might suggest. Given that the original lineup for the Specials didn't last much longer after its release, the album also serves as a fitting finale, given or take some choice singles from 1981.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
NotSteven (September 26, 2012)

The reputation I think comes from Ska purists, the same people who dismiss Celebrate the Bullet. Everyone loves the Specials S/T because it's a fun, upbeat ska record that's simultaneously cynical and has lyrical depth and socially historical importance. The fact that More Specials is so much different and meets the band at a turning point where Jerry Dammers' affinity for elevator music was taking over turns off many fans of the first album. More Specials is an acquired taste. It's like Grace Under Pressure vs Moving Pictures. There's a lot of distaste for the former record, and even though I think it's great, I get why so many are/were alienated by it.

eazyd2 (September 25, 2012)

have to agree with the retard below

Skibz777 (September 25, 2012)

"Retread"? Are we listening to the same album? Their debut was merely a ska record, but 'More' is much more musically ambitious and diversely textured: Northern soul on "Sock It To Me, J.B.", the seven-minute electronic worldbeat/dub of "Stereotypes", calypso on "Holiday Fortnight", the loungey vibe on "I Can't Stand It"...it's practically a complete 180 from their debut, not just in the music but the production is much fuller than the stripped-down punk sound of 'Specials'. If anything, the overt punk influence is practically completely absent on this record.

The music is much more diverse, the songwriting is much more confident and the instrumentation is much more sharper. I've always considered 'More Specials' to be vastly superior to its predecessor, and I've heard a lot of people say similar. What exactly is the poor "reputation" that you're implying?

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