Anna Minard, our former city hall reporter, claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to all the records that music nerds consider important.
Beauty and the Beat
The first song on here, "Our Lips Are Sealed," sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't tell if it's from karaoke bars or because I just watched Pretty in Pink again recently and "Our Lips Are Sealed" sounds like it comes straight out of a John Hughes movie. I didn't know what to brace for with the Go-Go's at all; I went into this blank-slated as all get-out.
What was inside this album: 1980s ear twinkles and cupcake frosting. Bright plastic jewelry. Some spikes. The album cover is pastel like a cheap beach hotel painting, and I love it. It looks like the art in my desert grandparents' sun-bleached RV. These ladies in their towels and face masks and lipstick look not at all like they are attending an actual slumber party, but more like they are a well-dressed '80s business-lady witch coven that gets ready together before performing sacrifices, and you are the sacrifice, tied up in the corner. The sweet, airy cover with a hint of something strange and secret looks like the music sounds, too. Fun, simple, sugared, with some weird stuff under the sugar coating. You know the way that some ingredient of M&Ms is actually made of smooshed bugs, or at least that's what people on the playground say? But you still eat 'em! It's like that.
There's a rippling dreaminess to the guitars and vocals, so that much of it seems casual and Californian, but they retain the ability to sound tough. I love the girl-group harmonies and ooooohs—"This Town," "Lust to Love." And the sometimes-warbling lead vocals sound kinda punk and crazy, but then they're on this cute sweet-tooth music. It's super fun! Sometimes they shout "Yeah!"
Beauty and the Beat offers a soundtrack for judging people based on how cool their car is, on their eye shadow, on their jewelry. And not "cool," exactly, just deliberate and impregnated with meaning. When I was a teenager, sometimes I had to pause a movie I was watching to change outfits because I identified with the characters so much and my teenage feelings were so intense and fashion was the only way to deal. This seems like an album that would inspire a million sitting-in-your-own-house costume changes. And because like I said, I just watched Pretty in Pink, and this feels like it matches, those outfits would probably be AMAZING. Dressing up just to stay in? Don't mind if I do!
This is the power-up music for a girl gang I want to join. We'd travel in a pack, hang out at a diner making handmade flyers for shows and parties while throwing fries at each other and talking about whom we've kissed. One girl would always be chewing bubble gum. You would not mess with us. Our lipstick would be incredible.
I give this a "sew your own prom dress" out of 10.