Monday, 14 January 2013

Top 102 Albums. No 67. I Just Can't Stop It

Top 102 Albums. No 67. 
I Just Can't Stop It - The Beat

Monday morning. Time for something 'up' to listen too, Back to the music of my teens, then. Maybe a Two Tone band. Danceable and 'conscious' surely the ska revival was one of the great moments in pop and whenever it is played many men of my age wind up red faced and breathless as they try to recreate the steps of their youth. The Beat's own label was called Go-Feet and, as the ad's say, it did what it said on the tin. Still does. Go Feet!

The Beat are sometimes overshadowed by The Specials but this is a fabulous album, edgy, funny and FUN. The fact that this album didn't come out on 2-Tone as had their first single, a great cover of the Smokey Robinson's classic Tears of a Clown probably influenced that a bit. 2-Tone was like a runaway train at the time and seemed to show that an indie could take on the industry and win. Leaving was a bit of a betrayal. But they were sussed and set up their own label to protect them somewhat from Arista. They had great graphics, too. Did I mention that they were great to dance to. Well their record sleeve sets out that agenda pretty clearly. But it's not graphics that make a great album. What about the music?
The first single was Hand's Off She's Mine and it's a cracker but it was and will always be overshadowed by the second, the classic Mirror in the Bathroom, perhaps the best song about chronic narcissism. It was also a disco fixture at the time and always put's a smile on my face.
from Like Punk Never Happened

Mirror in the bathroom
I just can't stop it,
Every Saturday you see me
window shopping.
Find no interest in the
racks and shelves
Just a thousand reflections
of my own sweet self, self, self...

The third single was almost as good, and about the same thing - Best Friend. It features one of my favourite opening salvos of chiming guitars.

I just found out the name of your best friend,
you been talkin' about yourself again

A few years later they broke up and they released another single from this album to promote a career best compilation. Their cover of Andy William's Can't Get Used to Losing You was another big hit and it is a beautiful version, loaded with echo, managing to sound both pre-war and ska at the same time.
And the non-singles are no slouches either, with Stand Down Margaret one of the earliest and best of a sub-genre of music from the eighties, inspired by a woman nicknamed after an instrument of torture.
There's also the essential cover of a Prince Buster song, Rough Rider. And they had his saxophone player!
The Monday blues are BEAT! I'm dancing around the kitchen. Hold the breakfast. Call the ambulance...

Extra bonus material, again from the brilliant Smash hits archive at Like Punk Never Happened.. Click to read.


  1. Tehe Beat over The Specials for me every time, esp' 'Mirror in the Bathroom'. Dave Wakeling looked so cool back then with his blond fringe and square guitar.
    'Save it For Later'... Salacious subtexts?
    Wakeling explains: "The actual hook line itself was just a dirty joke, I just thought it was hilarious that you could get in a song: 'save it – comma – for later – F-E-double L-A-T-O-R.' So I thought it'd be really neat to get that in a song and everybody would be singing it. I didn't know it was going to be a joke that lasted for 30 years..."

    1. Tehe Beat? I swing from one to the other depending on mood (Beat & Specials). Didn't realise they had such a Benny Hill edge...

  2. Surprised Too Nice to Talk To is not on this album; maybe it was just a single...

    1. Yes, just a single. Those were the days before five or six singles came from one album. Releasing stand alone singles was pretty standard. Of course now all the singles were gathered onto 'deluxe' editions. Too Nice... is on the deluxe Wha'ppen?