welcome back to the Skaject folks! this week we’re taking a look at Wha’ppen?, the 1981 release from The Beat (AKA The English Beat).

i do wanna note, even though it’s not part of the original release of the record, that To Nice to Talk To was a single as part of this album’s release cycle and now leads the record in re-released versions, and damn this one’s good. it’s a little dark, a little moody, but with a really fun percussive heartbeat to it. really dig it. the true lead of the record is Doors of Your Heart, which is a laid back and mellow groove. good track, even if it’s not my fave here. All Out To Get You is a fun riff on conspiratorial thinking, with some really fun horn riffs, haha. Monkey Murders is p good. I Am Your Flag is a satirically nationalistic track, and damn this one’s phenomenal. French Toast (Soleil Trop Chaud) is sung entirely in Dominican Creole French, and this track has an incredibly laid back vibe to it. Drowning is understandable a lot more somber. very successful but a bit of a lull for me. Dream Home In NZ is a little more active, but no less of a downer track, haha. Walk Away chronicles a pretty disfunctional relationship. Over and Over’s got some good energy to it as well. Cheated is a real good track about disillusionment in social promises. an excellent track here. Get-a-Job pairs extremely well with Cheated, coming at it from the other angle but satirically, like I Am Your Flag does. The Limits We Set is our album closer here – def a strange track, but it’s a nice closer given the subject matter.

faves – To Nice To Talk To, I Am Your Flag, Cheated, Get-a-Job
dislikes –

we’ve checked out a lot of sophomore records from British ska bands at this point in the project, and a real common thread is them getting back from touring for their first record and going “damn we gotta change up our sound”. in reading about this record, that’s what happened to the Beat after I Just Can’t Stop It, but i feel like this is one of the more successful musical branches out of the sophomore explorations. the overall musical package is extremely tight, with varied energy and styles, and the lyrics stay socially focused and tight. it’s a very strong package here, and i had a good time – while it was something that i appreciated but didn’t dig its hooks in me, i wouldn’t be surprised if i came back in a few years and really sunk into this record.

Wha’ppen? – 7/10

next week, we’re checking out what Madness is up to with 7. see y’all then!

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