The Go-Go's: God Bless The Go-Go's

The Go-Go's: God Bless The Go-Go's

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Album: God Bless The Go-Go's
Label: Beyond/BMG

Since splitting in the mid-'80s, the members of The Go-Go's have taken part in a handful of reunions, all of which failed to spark a widespread revival of all things Go-Go. Maybe the lack of new material had something to do with it. Many listeners have fond memories of The Go-Go's, but three albums isn't much of a legacy, and it must be hard to work up the crowd-pleasing enthusiasm necessary for yet another run through "Our Lips Are Sealed." Aside from a handful of compilation-bound bonus tracks, the group resisted recording a follow-up to 1984's Talk Show for years, but its latest reunion has yielded God Bless The Go-Go's (not to be confused with the recent Blake Babies reunion album God Bless The Blake Babies). The strategy could have easily backfired. How often, after all, does anyone still listen to the 1999 Blondie reunion No Exit? Fortunately, God Bless The Go-Go's seems unlikely to meet the same fate. Sharply written, energetically performed, and slickly produced, it actually sounds like the album Go-Go's fans have waited 17 years to hear. Pure pop from start to finish—with an opening track that includes a "la la" in its title and a "yeah yeah yeah" in its chorus—God Bless finds The Go-Go's operating at full steam. Co-written by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, the tight, driving "Unforgiven" sets a high standard early on, but the disc's remainder does little to let the energy drop. Romantic disappointment underlies many tracks, but the band slips in a message or two: "Throw Me A Curve" could be the catchiest protest of unrealistic female body imagery ever committed to record. Even the contemplative numbers come coated in hooks. The album-closing "Daisy Chain" offers a regretful account of the The Go-Go's history that all but apologizes for breaking up. Whether the group intends God Bless to resolve unfinished business or start a new chapter remains to be seen, but for now, it's likely to please doubters and diehards alike.

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