The Knack: Get The Knack (1979)

One of those albums that was just a monster for me at the time -- I was in 7th grade when it came out in the spring of '79, just shy of my 13th birthday, and this album hit the sweet spot for pre-adolescent boys -- though it's one I take for granted these days, rarely taking it out for a spin but always entertained when I do.

That is, as long as you can get past the lyrics, which are painfully misogynistic in spots.  It's like watching Sixteen Candles these days, trying to enjoy the nostalgia but left feeling kinda icky.  But where they stick to the more innocent (or at worst charmingly sophomoric) side rather than crossing the line, the songs endure as terrific blasts of power pop.

It's obviously best remembered for birthing "My Sharona," the song whose bassline anyone who grew up in the 70s can still spot today within about 1 second; and what can I say, it's "My Sharona."  Ok, it goes on way too long, but that aside, it's a high-watermark of power pop, and decades of pop culture saturation (think Reality Bites) can't detract from its durability.

But there are plenty of other power pop nuggets as well.  "Your Number Or Your Name" is near perfection, an amazing little gem, as is the similar "That's What The Little Girls Do," good clean fun with wonderful, jangly guitars. "Good Girls Don't" is up there with "My Sharona" as an unforgettable single of the times, though it's one where the cringe-worthy lyrics are a bit much.-- somewhat stalker-ish, but mostly works as innocent pop right up until they hit the "'til she's sitting on your face" line and it goes downhill from there.  Still, judged by hooks alone, it's pretty killer.  They do a nice job with Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat," and album closer "Frustrated" hits the right power-pop/proto-new-wave notes, but, again, the lyrics...

Opener "Let Me Out" is a little further on the hard rock side of things, sounding like Cheap Trick but a bit too repetitive. And some of the ballads and mid-tempo tunes are a bit generic, like reheated Raspberries, but certainly not bad.

Throughout, the album has nice sonic punch, light and breezy; it's produced by Mike Chapman, half of the production best known for bubblegum/glam bands like Sweet. 

Here's a live take on "My Sharona":
 Here's the video for "Good Girls Don't":
...and a live "Your Number Or Your Name":


Comments

  1. Gutsy move to tout this album nowadays. I will try some of the other cuts besides "Sharona"--the guitar solo of which I never get tired of.

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