7/06/2009

Milestones: 'Get The Knack'

[Our series of posts on albums, movies, etc. which celebrate significant anniversaries this year continues. -KJ]


THE KNACK
Get the Knack

[Capitol-1979]

In essence, power pop is meant to be a melodic, catchy, mostly guitar-based sub genre with lyrics detailing the ups and downs of romance in its various permutations. But rarely is its vibrant nature equally raunchy, sleazy, and put forth by practitioners unafraid to flaunt these attributes as Los Angeles quartet The Knack do so well on their debut. (Hell, the big hit on this disc is a naughty ode to a real-life under age girl.) This is not an album made by shy, sensitive, poetic, loner types but instead by guitar-wielding lotharios who know how to get into the girls' pants. And do so.

Clearly indebted to the early years of a certain Liverpool quartet—the album’s front and back covers reference Meet The Beatles and A Hard Day’s Night, respectively—Get the Knack rode its mix of updated Beatlemania, suggestive lyrics and classic pop songwriting chops all the way to the bank: its sales of five million copies make it one of the most successful rock debuts ever. (Props to lead guitarist Berton Averre and the late Bruce Gary on drums for their stellar performances throughout.)

For some reason, many others—especially in the music press—found their work to be contrived and over-hyped; it didn’t help that on subsequent releases The Knack never reached the same highs of their initial disc. But judged on its own terms, especially three decades removed, Get The Knack is a damn fine piece of melodic guitar rock that has aged incredibly well, with a couple of timeless tracks (“My Sharona”, “Good Girls Don’t”) that ensure many more listeners will have a chance to “get it” as well.

Highlights: “My Sharona”, “Good Girls Don’t”, "Let Me Out", "Siamese Twins (The Monkey and Me)", "That's What the Little Girls Do".

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