Monday, November 17, 2008

The Knack - Round Trip - 1981

It must suck to be the Knack. First off, there was the huge unexpected success of their debut album, Get the Knack, followed almost immediately by the equally unexpected career-damaging "Knuke the Knack" underground campaign. If that wasn't bad enough, their superior sophomore release, ...But the Little Girls Understand, was universally and unfairly dismissed as an inferior rehash of the debut. After such a tumultuous two-year roller coaster ride, the boys in the Knack took a well-deserved breather. When their third album, Round Trip, emerged in 1981, Doug Fieger and the boys in the Knack had matured ten-fold and had created their best album to date. Produced by Jack Douglas, Round Trip had more musical layers than any Knack album before (or since). "Just Wait and See," "Radiating Love," "Boys Go Crazy," and "She Likes the Beat" were instant Knack classics, but with more skin and bone. "Lil' Cal's Big Mistake" could've been an unreleased Blood, Sweat & Tears sessions ( track. "Africa" was Weather Report on pop-flavored steroids. "We Are Waiting" and "Sweet Dreams" sound like outtakes from the last John LennonDouglas produced Double Fantasy). Two of the Knack's best tracks are here, and both are worth the price of admission alone. "Pay the Devil (Ooo, Baby, Ooo)" is a beautifully haunting ballad while "Another Lousy Day in Paradise" is the Knack's entire musical essence squeezed into one three-minute pop song. Brilliant. A few weeks after this brilliant album was released (to poor reviews, it should be said), the Knack split up. While they were at their creative high, they were at their commercial and critical low. Again, it must suck to be the Knack. -AMG


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Anonymous said...

Hi Curty. Your blog is a godsend to those of us who live in small towns among others who don't understand the joy of a perfect pop song. Thank you so much. You wouldn't happen to have any old Frampton Brothers or Gladhands, would you? Keep up the good work, it is greatly appreciated.


side3 said...

Always loved this one..."Lil Cal's Big Mistake" rocks!

deano6 said...

This record never got the credit it was due. Bass playing on Africa is killer Prescott Niles. Hey Curty Ray, do you know if anyone has the Jeff Murphy Cantilever album? Also, while not very power pop. The Everly Brothers EB '84 cd. Thanks a million for all the other great music you bring to folks. I'm one of those who live in the boondocks so this site is a blessing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for helping me get The Knack Curty. I was already a massive fan of the first album. I've trawled a LOT of music blogs and Get The Knack really does it for me. They kick the proverbial butt. I love their musical competence and particularly enjoy the drumming which is always tight as a gnat's chuff and confident as hell. I will definitely purchase the cds (which I wouldn't have done without the insight gained from blogs - Go figure!) All the best, Gav, Manchester, UK

Anonymous said...

hell yeah have to agree with your post and and they way we approach it can be so shackled ie: ok so most listened to the knack and yeah they had a huge no 1...and people expected a similar vein or style and they bombed chart wise..but success isn't a measure at times..this LP is so cool.. i brought it in 1987 about 6 yrs after the original release date,,and gave it a so glad i did,,Africa is outstanding..Radiating Love is is Another Day In Paradise.. I always thought of Nirvana (the band) when Doug sung the lyric..I was so fortunate to see The Knack play live aka Sharona days in Melbourne Australia..they were exciting..and a great band.i stuck with them..All 3 LP's are solid records..a fickle public had attention spans like lemmings..Round Trip still stands up...its funny the knack were panned for being Beatles rip offs and yet oasis were lauded..(i like oasis) but the knack suffered for it..shrugs again the way people approach music.. Round Trip rocks thanks for highlighting this very fine LP Get The Knack!

Anonymous said...

Has any band released their first 3 albums as rock-solid as the first three Knack albums? Elvis Costello, probably, ummm ... anyone else?

Even the Beatles had a couple duds and filler on some of their early discs.

I understand some folks being put off by the cynicism and perceived misogyny of the lyrics, but this was the late 70's for Pete's sake. Smell the Glove, baby!

Oddly enough, I'd put "My Sharona" as one of the weakest songs on the first three discs, saved mostly by it's exuberant and freewheeling guitar solo break.

Gary Fletcher said...

both links are dead

adam said...

I have been collecting music for over 30 years and Round Trip is still in my top 10


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