The Knack – Serious Fun (1991): Forgotten series

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Summer 1979 saw the Knack scurry straight to the top of the charts everywhere with a song that remains the epitome of power pop holiness. Booming and zooming with melodic muscle, “My Sharona” not only awarded the Los Angeles group a bronze medal for their first outing, as the catchy tune marked their debut single, but it also brought rocking guitar pop back into vogue, which due to the advent of disco, had been hiding underground for some years.

By the time the Knack called it quits in 1982, they had scored a couple of further hit singles, including “Good Girls Don’t” and “Baby Talks Dirty,” and left three albums of hooky, horny pop rock behind them. Despite the fact the band was greater than great, clueless journalists accused them of being basically Beatles clone. Although the specter of John, Paul, George and Ringo did arise here and there, their music actually had more in common with the aggressive bite of the early Kinks and the Who, implemented with the vivacious energy of contemporary acts like the Ramones and the Undertones.

After a decade of silence, the Knack returned to the scene with Serious Fun (Charisma Records), which may not have been as immediately attainable as their prior efforts, but still keys in as a credible collection of hard rocking pop fixings. Perhaps aiming to fit in with the current crop of metal warriors, minus the big hair, eyeliner and spandex, the group assumed a fairly heavier edge on the disc. The amps are turned up higher than usual, and the Knack barrel through the songs with extra-strength testosterone tactics.

Devised of head-banging rhythms and stinging guitar breaks, tracks such as “I Want Love,” “Body Talk,” “Rocket O’ Love” and the title cut of the album rank among the best offerings, where the heartfelt “One Day A Time” checks in as the token ballad. The Knack deliver the songs in a no-frills manner, keeping the goods slim and trim.

Naughty and nasty vocals, joined by shouting choruses man the material, making the record not a whole lot different than the group’s previous endeavors, save for the aforementioned occasional sidetrips into the trash-riddled territory inhabited by Motley Crue, Ratt and Poison. Rocking to attention, Serious Fun proved the Knack still had the knack!

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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