Go-Go's: Beauty And The Beat (1981)
Given the emotional resonance of the album, it's hard for me to assess how it holds up on its own merits. But I'd say that, while some of it is clearly of its age, it's a pretty durable record, with enough great music that it can be enjoyed without its historical associations.
While the Go-Go's weren't the first all-women rock band (gotta give credit to Fanny and the Runaways for breaking some of that ground), it's hard not to view this (alongside the early Bangles work) as pretty significant for showing that women could rock without some male Svengali pulling the strings. And while there was, unfortunately, still some novelty associated with the band (I think it was really a decade later, with the rise of Riot Grrl and Liz Phair and the Breeders and the like, that this ceased being novel and was just part of the norm), the fact that a lot of these songs are just freakin' great makes the album stand up as simply a solidly great pop record, rather than a fun little lark by an all-women band.
Obviously those two singles are the killer tracks, still wonderfully fun and captivating today. I mean, there may come a day when I hear the opening drumbeat and bassline of "We Got The Beat" and don't need to sit there and listen to the whole song, but it hasn't happened yet, and I remain skeptical it ever will. But there are plenty of solid deep tracks here that hold up nearly as well. "How Much More" deserves to stand alongside those other two as unforgettable, perfect power pop. But the more subtle and melodic "Tonite" and "This Town" are plenty fine, as is the slyly ingratiating "Skidmarks On My Heart." And closing track "Can't Stop The World" is unabashed bubblegum glee.
While the debut is always going to hold special significance given its cultural impact, I think their third and final studio album, Talk Show, is underestimated, with plenty of great songs that hold up nearly as well.
So here's that "Our Lips Are Sealed" video I must have watched two gazillion times in high school: