Okay, I know that Joe Jackson isn't exactly an unknown, but how many of you revere (or even own) this, his first album. And what an album it is! As well as the timeless ''Is She Really Going Out With Him?'' you get ''One More Time,'' ''Sunday Papers,'' ''Happy Loving Couples,'' ''Baby Stick Around'' and ''Fools In Love,'' most of them on a first side that hits it out of the park. Indeed, if it wasn't for ''Fools...'' (possibly the best song here) many a record out there would be mint condition on side two. Happy coincidence meant that Jackson's poignant and acerbic observations on life and love, along with his impressive musical training and heritage collided headlong with the UK New Wave, opening wide the opportunities for his bitter-sweet songs. His material and delivery draw inevitable comparisons with Elvis Costello, but for me, Jackson is a cut above our Declan. Of course, that might be home-town familiarity speaking and Joe and the boys were an ever-present part of the live music wall-paper while I was at college, but then The Cure, The Banshees and The Attractions were too, if on a more revolving basis, so he had plenty of competition for my attention and affections. But what makes this album stick is the sheer quality of the lyrics. Even an out and out rocker like ''One More Time'' has an observant intelligence and almost painful honesty, while ''Fools...'' and ''Is She...'' have stood the test of time, shored up by the barbed familiarity of their outsider's stance and subtly twisted viewpoint. These are songs that speak not just for their generation but all the generations that have followed.
The vocal is all angst and attitude, with driven riffs, bass that goes deep and drums that stay hit. What's not to like about a record that captures the life and energy of a classic four-piece rock band in full, uninhibited, unabashed overdrive. Me - I love it!
- Roy Gregory, Republished Courtesy of Analog Audio, Minnesota
Format: 180-Gram Single 33 Pressed at RTI
Jacket: Deluxe Old Style ''Debossed'' Single-Jacket Printed By Stoughton on Heavy Stock
Original Label: A&M
Original Release Date: 1979
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Mastered by Kevin Gray At Cohearent Audio