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Thursday, January 24, 1980
Hard-hitting quality in Specials' first
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By JORDAN HAWLEY
If The Specials is indicative of the
sound of the '80s, the world will be
a better place. Released in Britain in
late 1979, the group's first effort has
only recently reached our shores and
owes most of its popularity to its
producer that notorious emotional
fascist, Elvis Costello. However, The
Specials deserves to be evaluated and
ultimately praised as a sound in its
own right, regardless of Elvis.
Unlike many New Wave releases
featuring black-and-white covers and
guitar-picking dwarfs with military
haricuts, this album contains
consistently excellent music. There
are no unlistenable cuts a claim that
many of the established New Wave
groups cannot uphold.
The music itself vascillates between
reggaepop and pounding
rock'n'roll. Don't misunderstand. The
Specials is not Bob Marley trying to
play Ted Nugent. Rather, The Specials
is a group of typically derelict yet
competent musicians singing some
upbeat rasta tunes to real rock'n'roll
lyrics. Cockney accents also are
included. The group succeeds
because it does not pretend to be
black rastafarians. It honestly
embraces both reggae and rock.
Tracks like "Up to You"
successfully synthesize reggae
rhythm with monotone vocals and
raunchy guitar licks. "Nite Klub" is
another prime example of The
Special's sound. It begins with the
typical squeaky reggae organ and
rapidly switches to the tense brand of
rock'n'roll complete with spastic
singing. Simply, this is not another all
day reggae album; the words and the
fervor with which they are sung fall
into the white, middle-class punk
Sleep all day, it's the only way
I'm a parasite, I creep but not at
Nite Kluh, What am I doing
Hey I don't work because I don't
There's no work to do.
"Concrete Jungle" is another good
example of the frustrated street lyrics
common to much rock music.
I won't fight for a cause
I don't want to change the laws
Leave me alone, just leave me
I just want to get out on my own.
Although the lyrics are reminiscent
of no-talent punks, The Specials
musical ability is exception. The
percussion rivals that of The
Attraction's Pete Thomas and
provides a solid core to the tight and
often complex rhythms
accompanying much of The Specials'
The guitar work remains
consistently sharp and succincet
throughout the album and does not
overpower the vocals or the rhythm
Indeed, The Specials is a fine
album. It is neither overproduced nor
does it suffer from incompetent
three-chord musicians that often
occupy the punk section of the
On its first album, The Specials has
achieved the much sought-after
balance between quality
musicianship and innovative
spontaneity. Unlike many new
groups, it needs not rely on any kinky
gimmicks to attract attention.
If you really want to be a person of
the '80s or even if you just have good
taste, you will buy this album. E3
Jordan Hawley is a music critic for The
Daily Tar Heel.
'Wall' adds to Pink Floyd's stature
By JONATHAN MUDD
If you please, a warm deserved
welcome for the return of Pink
Floyd. Silent since the release of
Animals almost two years ago, Pink
Floyd now brings us The Wall, a
double album set well worth the wait.
Britain's Pink Floyd, a band that
approaches genius with nearly every
effort, is known best for 1973's The
Dark Side of the Moon a technically
brilliant album that might be one of
the decade's finest. But each of the
group's discs merits recognition. The
Wall is Pink Floyd's 10th release, and a
very strong one.
Bassistvocalist Roger Waters is the
brains behind the Pink Floyd
operation. He is the sole lyricist and
main composer and producer for the
band. Like The Dark Side of the
Moon, The Wall has a story behind
it a bizarre and complicated story,
hard to understand and even harder
Basically, though, The Wall is the
biography of a man who, from birth,
has been oversheltered and repelled
to the point that he becomes totally
withdrawn from society and lives
behind a "wall." Each part of his life
an overprotective mother, the loss of
his first love becomes another brick
in his wall. Every song on The Wall is
connected to the next by clever
sound effects crying babies,
shouting schoolchildren, birds,
planes and even a Gomer Pyle TV
show splice. It all gives the album a
very continuous, flowing sound,
which at times approaches that of a
rock opera. This aspect of The Wall is
right down the rock fan's alley.
Beyond the concept, the music
makes The Wall. Pink Floyd seems to
have taken a relieving step back to the
style that made Dark Side so
successful. Unlike Animals, in which
the band sacrificed a good deal of
musical quality in order to get their
message across, The Wall once again
combines striking lyrics and powerful
songs of every type.
"Mother," an acoustic guitar
oriented cut that recalls the Wish You
Were Here album, sharply contrasts
with the plodding Zepplinesque beat
of "In the Flesh." "Young Lust" is Pink
Floyd's version of heavy metal, while
"Run Like Hell" might be the band's
stab at New Wave. Worth special
mention is "Hey You," a haunting
rocker in the classic Floyd vein.
Musically, it is almost pointless to
discuss each member of Pink Floyd
separately. In addtion to Waters, the
band is composed of equals
drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist
Richard. Wright and guitarist David
Only Mason is not a singer.
Certainly each member is a talented
musician on his own (Gilmour's guitar
work is especially impressive on The
Wall); but it is as a unit that the group
excels. And Pink Floyd does just that
on The Wall.
Jonathan Mudd is a music critic for
The Daily Tar Heel.
Top 1(0) ADbojms '
1. The Wall, Pink Floyd, United Artists.
2. The Long Run, Eagles, Asylum.
3. Damn The Torpedoes, Tom Petty, & The Heartbreakers,
4. On The Radio Greatest Hits, Volumes One & Two, Donna
5. Greatest, Bee Gees, RSC.
6. Kenny, Kenny Rogers, United Artists.
7. Off The Wall, Michael Jackson, Epic.
8. Phoenix, Dan Fogelberg, Full Moon-Epic.
9. Cornerstone, Styx, A & M.
10. Tusk, Fleetwood Mac, Warner Bros.
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