Skids - Scared to Dance (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Scared to Dance (1979)


In early 1979, Skids would release their debut album, Scared to Dance. Like many punk bands who were either hold overs from ’77 or just coming on the scene the band had expanded their sounds beyond the standard British punk of just a few years prior. This all lead to the music being a bit more palatable, outside of the diehard punk scene. It also gave the music a chance to exist without being immediately associated with just a few year period due to its sound.

One of the things that helped Skids stand out from some of their more punk brethren was the guitar work of Stuart Adamson, who would later go on to greater recognition upon forming the band Big Country just a few years later. The band also benefited from the strong lyrical work of Richard Jobson who would bring scenes from his Scottish upbringing to the forefront of his lyrics often, while also having strong anti-war themes.

The album, most likely, will be remembered for a 2006 cover of the single “The Saints Are Coming” done by U2 and Green Day. I’m not going to tell you how to feel about liking that cover, but if you’ve never taken the time to check out the original do so. The musical merits of Green Day and U2 are likely something people will debate for decades after we’re all dead. But, the two bands come from different genres, different eras, and different countries. If the true testament of song’s power is it being appreciated by people from different demographics, this song succeeds.

The follow-up single, “Into the Valley” while strong, doesn’t’ quite live up to its predecessor musically. Lyrically, it is a stunning number about young people being recruited into the military, specifically a friend who was killed while on a tour of duty in Northern Ireland. Given this, and the other anti-war sentiment found throughout the album, it’s like The Troubles were a big influence on the way Richard Jobson viewed the world.

All in all, this is a solid debut and pretty good album. It isn’t likely to ever be mentioned amongst the greatest punk albums of it’d era. I would imagine that’s because the band was neither angry enough or poppy enough to draw any real attention. Like many of their contemporaries Skids were a great band who just didn’t have that little extra something to make people really pay attention. And even those who did, likely didn’t feel the need to keep this one in their collection as the years passed by.