Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Paul Collins' Beat - The Kids Are the Same - 1981


It's a story as old as time (and rock & roll) itself -- band makes great debut album, then has to come up with a follow-up, and doesn't do quite as good a job. While The Kids Are the Same, the second album from Paul Collins and the Beat (here called the Paul Collins' Beat to avoid confusion with then-popular British ska outfit of the same name), is hardly a disaster, it's a genuine disappointment after the modest classic that was their debut album. Producer Bruce Botnick seems to have been going for a more spacious sound on this set, and it doesn't suit the band as well as the tight, AM-friendly tone of the first LP, and Collins doesn't write quite as many instant classics for this disc. Many of the songs go for a more measured approach than the speed-demon hook-fest of album number one, with a conspicuously higher "gal's got me down" quotient, and while the material is still quite good, it isn't as exciting or engaging. But there are still some great rock & roll tunes here, the band is tight and emphatic, and "The Kids Are the Same" is a classic teen anthem waiting to be rediscovered. While there's a bit of "sophomore slump" in The Kids Are the Same, it's still a better pop album than most of the bands in the L.A. "skinny tie" brigade were serving up at the time, with real passion and smart songwriting bringing it home; it sure didn't deserve to be the group's last major-label set. -AMG



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2 comments:

61 y 49 said...

Essential. Two great albums by Paul Collins (The Beat, and this one). Greetings.

rocknrollmachine said...

I interviewed Paul Collins when The Beat played at my university a couple years ago. Paul Collins' Beat are famous in places such as Japan and Europe, where they appear on international television networks and attract large crowds at their concerts. The market for music is very different here in America, where artists, tours and albums are all pre-packaged.

Collins' best career moves were recording the self-titled album "The Beat" and founding The Nerves in 1974. The Nerves toured with The Ramones and released their own independent albums on vinyl. The Nerves were also the first punk band or group playing an alternative form of rock music to perform on the USO tour for the American troops in the 1970s.

There has been ongoing talk of two projects, including a full length motion picture and a documentary film about The Nerves. I emailed Paul Collins, who stated that he is not currently involved with either project and is working on a new album.

If either film does surface, I hope that it will be similar to the 2010 biopic about '70s teenage band The Runaways, which told the story of Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Lita Ford and Sandy West.

The Nerves' back catalog has been reissued by the record label Alive Total Energy and I look forward to hearing the new Paul Collins' Beat album.

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