There is no doubt in retrospective reviews of Singles Going Steady that it is a perfect record. That notion is 100% correct. This is perhaps the perfect punk album in both length, sound, style, and inspiration.
Buzzcocks from Manchester, UK are one of the early Punk Rock bands that sprung from the 1977 Punk movement. They had peers in The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Wire. To separate themselves from those acts the band needed to establish their own uniqueness and persona. The result of their storied career is well represented in these 16 songs.
Singles Going Steady is a compilation album released in the US in 1979. It was the first Buzzcocks album to reach North America and intended as an introduction for the American public, coinciding with a US tour. The album failed to chart, but in the many years that have passed it’s been praised to death and inspired has countless artists.
It feels almost impossible that an album this great exists, but here we are. Get on board the train because this journey is a good one…
The catchy melodies are so precise, organic, and sugary sweet that you can instantly understand how 90’s Pop Punk came about. Green Day probably took notice of this as well all those other bands that sound the same. Even Nirvana respected them to the point where Kurt Cobain invited the band to tour on what was to be the final Nirvana shows.
Lp’s were meant to be played in full, with albums by artists in the 60’s exploring the idea of concepts and storytelling for the first time in the mainstream. From what came before in engineered crafted radio pop singles, you often could not get a full grasp of what the artist really was about. In some circumstances, all you ever got was one Pop single. However, once the long player arrived musicians had the choice to either expand, or give up.
In the case of this album here, the singles compiled make one full LP by an amazing organic placement of the songs themselves. It is a very tightly focused collection and the fact that it was complied with songs by ascending release dates is extraordinary.
You do not need to shuffle around with the tracks. Each song is amazing. “Orgasm Addict” starts things off and the album never lets up in the tempo it establishes. It is a steady flow of track-by-track miracles of perfection and acts as a blue print on how to do an album without making it boring.
“Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” is a definite highlight as well as “What Do I Get?” However, you have songs like “Every Fallen in Love” which hits hard, is angry, and with lyrics detailing relationship issues and human nature all wrapped up in riffs that can make you move wherever you may be, it’s is a head shaker for sure and just too dang good. My gosh…
Side-B of the album consists of the B-sides to the singles and those tracks are super tight. “Whatever Happened To?” was the B-side of “Orgasm Addict” and it is an early Punk punch to the gut. “Autonomy” has a groove that slashes the listener with an almost thrashy sound and “Noise Annoys” just sounds funny. Side-B highlight I would say is the song “Why Can't I Touch It?” The track delves a bit more into an experimental flavor with hints of Post-Punk peeking through the cracks. Pete Shelley’s high-pitched squeal singing is at its best here.
And that’s it for this old release. If you have not listened to this then please do. It is highly recommended and for crying out loud, be inspired by something great for once!Dig it…