Get The Knack

The Knack

Capitol Records, 1979

http://www.theknack.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/20/1997

Before I read all about it in the National Enquirer or some other rag like that, I should probably state this in public: I've always kind of considered myself to be a dirty old man trapped in a twenty-something body. (Or, as Jack Nicholson said in one of his films, "I'm a dirty young man.") I ignore the stories that claim I passed my sexual peak at the age of 18, and I continue to think of ways to display my prowess. (My wife, however, draws the line when it involved vinyl, Marshmallow Fluff and a water slide. But I digress.)

So why should it surprise people when I tell them that I happen to like The Knack, a band generally reviled amongst rock fans. Some people may consider buying one of their albums equivalent of heading to the local peep show in broad daylight.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But ignore the hype (or, in this case, anti-hype) and listen to the music. Their 1979 debut, Get The Knack, is a damn fine pop album with catchy hooks (and poor production) that has held up well and become a cult favorite.

Doug Fieger leads this quartet, sounding kind of like what The Wonders (from the movie That Thing You Do!) would sound like with raging hormones. At the start, they sound like a harder-edged Cheap Trick with their song "Let Me Out." The next cut, "Your Number Or Your Name," is what makes me think of The Wonders - it's a light, poppy number that would have easily fit on AOR radio at the time.

The first hints of The Knack being "pop perverts" comes on "Good Girls Don't," a dirty little ditty about teenage lust. Fieger et al. are able to pull this off very well, making this a guilty pleasure on Get The Knack.

And then, there is the song that made the band infamous - "My Sharona." Recently brought back to the forefront in the movie Reality Bites, this song is not as annoying as we were led to believe back in 1979. Instead, this song has retained its freshness through its simplicity, and a hot lead guitar solo. Despite what the song is supposed to be about, it isn't devious or evil - rather humorous, in a sense. This song will not make you go out and chase after teenage girls - Moral Majority, relax.

The power of the material on Get The Knack is what supports this effort - "That's What Little Girls Do," "She's So Selfish," "Heartbeat," "Frustrated"... Fieger and band are excellent artisans of their craft. Only "Siamese Twins (The Monkey And Me)" disappoints - and even that grows on you after a while.

The story of The Knack is a sad one - a band shot down before their own time by their own publicity - but after the hype has died down (and the reunion attempt, albeit a good one, failed), we're left with the music. Get The Knack is about as sinister as an episode of a television sitcom, and as good an album as any I've heard in a while. Indulge yourself on this one - it's less embarassing than getting caught reading Penthouse by your wife or kids.

Rating: A-

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© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.