The Go-Go's 

God Bless the Go-Go's (Beyond)

If it weren't for Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin, who knows if the world would've been infiltrated by so many all-girl bands. It was over 20 years ago that Carlisle and Wiedlin, the founding members of the Go-Go's, created a trash-punk, all-girl band of their very own that would rock out and play loud, just like the boys. They wore dresses made out of garbage bags and shared a practice space with X. Guitarist Charlotte Caffey, bassist Margot Olaverra (who would be replaced by Kathy Valentine), and drummer Elissa Bello (who would be replaced by Gina Schock) also salivated at the idea of making cool, estrogen-energized music and joined the cause. With their first hit song, "We Got the Beat," which was originally released in the U.K. on the punk imprint Stiff Records, the Go-Go's emerged from the dimly lit underground of Hollywood and followed a different path that led them to be crowned the neon princesses of pop.

God Bless the Go-Go's, their first new studio release in 17 years, doesn't depart from previous endeavors and doesn't need to. Their lyrics never served as plans to change the universe, and they're not any deeper now. "Stuck in My Car" features the group's signature surf pop sound accentuated with a fiercer pulse, and the lyrics amount to the kind of giddy schoolgirl anthems to which even hardcore head-bangers can relate. Carlisle's rich alto voice creaks beautifully as she utters the blissfully campy refrain, "Somewhere the sun is shining/Somewhere the moon is rising/I'm sitting here." Playing guitar and singing background vocals, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong gives Wiedlin and Caffey a hand on "Unforgiven," the first single, which again mirrors the high energy of their classic hits. The '60s surf pop sound, which the Go-Go's used to seduce the world in the '80s, works its charms once again on this return to form.

More by Shelly Greenberg


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