Saturday, December 15, 2007

solid gold

If Gang of Four's Entertainment! is an all-time top-five album -- and for this listener it very much is -- then their 1980 follow-up Solid Gold has to be considered not simply a close second but very, very near its equal.

One does one's self a disservice not to know both albums. Conventional wisdom is fond of sophomore syndrome, or the follow-up to an often brilliant debut that fails for any number of reasons, usually distillable to either a failure to reach the heights of that first album or not having sufficiently broken new ground from that first album. Does not apply here: where Entertainment!cuts with the quick knife on the front lines, Solid Gold pounds with the sledgehammer and digs into the trenches. Andy Gill's guitar attack is less brittle but just as biting and dirty, the rhythm section as relentless as ever. And the lyrics: wiser and more mebittered than ever.
My ambitions come to nothing
What I wanted now just seems a waste of time
I can't make out what has gone wrong
I was good at what I did

Could I be happy with something else

Each day seems like a natural fact
And what we think changes how we act

Everything has been cynically shot it's gone


mark wallace said...

I've always liked Solid Gold a lot too. The difference, in the realm of pop music as such, might be hookiness, which Entertainment has a lot of and Solid Gold much less so. I love hearing Solid Gold, but whenever I think of Gang of Four casually, it's tunes from Entertainment that stick in my head. That may or may not be important to any given listener, but I think it accounts for the much greater fame of the first record.

L.A. Howe said...

them's some pretty loaded lyrics u quoted there--

comin up on the mla...