Vinyl Vlog 389

Vinyl Vlog 389

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Friday, 05 July 2019
COLUMN

Buzzcocks
Singles Going Steady
(2019 Remaster – Domino Records)
photo: turntablelab.com

The Buzzcocks belong up there with the Clash and the Sex Pistols for contributing the most to the punk rock of the 70s. Sure the Damned belong there also, but they were never Buzzcocks-calibur in my book. And the Sex Pistols are the Sex Pistols but there’s no denying what a similarly overrated and underrated album Nevermind the Bollocks is. And the Clash? They’re just untouchable.

There can be no denying that the Buzzcocks are defined by the songs on Singles Going Steady. And it’s a strange album when you think about it. It was a compilation album of sorts that was released to build buzz in the US, but the tracklisting contains songs from their full length albums, and from stand-alone singles. In a way one COULD argue that it’s like the US release of the first Clash album, and additionally argue that THAT was a better album than the UK selftitled Clash album. So, as far as Singles Going Steady is concerned, it’s both an original album and not a proper full-length.

What matters most about Singles Going Steady is its power. These songs are basic cornerstones for pop punk and love songs and they’ve influenced a whole genre of buzz-pop through the likes of the Briefs, the Marked Men and the Exploding Hearts. These songs are sweet, catchy, mournful, bitter, sad and funny at the same time. It’s like hearing a kid go through puberty and all the girl-problems that involves. And no one, absolutely no one, can pull off the songs like the Buzzcocks can. Could you imagine any other band doing Noise Annoys or Why Can’t I Touch It and not be laughed at straight into next week? No, there’s a certain chemistry in these songs that’s undeniable. Almost as if they’re expressing the things we’re too embarrassed to say. Doubly outrageous is the song order on Singles Going Steady which is more methodical than artistic: the first half has the A sides of the singles in chronological order followed by the respective b sides also in chronological order. And yet, the order works. So much so that when hearing the singles on their respective albums, it’s strange not to hear the track on Singles Going Steady as the next song. That’s the kind of impact this album has.

And speaking of steady, there’s a certain ability these songs have to absolutely engulf me when I turn them on, even now more than a decade after I’ve heard them. It speaks a lot to the kind of band the Buzzcocks were and just how well-crafted these songs are.

The new reissues by Domino are a sight to behold (or hear, haha!). The songs on Singles Going Steady have been remastered from the original tapes at half-speed for the first time in decades (has it been 40 years?). It’s on gorgeous heavyweight purple vinyl and includes the artwork from the original 7 inches that make up the tracks. It’s just such a beautiful package housing what are essential songs, and not just for punk rockers. This belongs in every collection.

Get it from Domino.

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