Review: The Go-Gos - God Bless the Go-Gos
Released: May 15, 2001
With very few exceptions, reunion albums are not essential listening. The best we can hope for is a solid album that at least isn't an embarrassment. In 2001, the Go-Gos released their first studio album in 17 years. Considering such a long layoff and that their first go round was short and inconsistent (one very good album and two spotty ones in four years), I can't imagine anyone held out much hope for God Bless the Go-Gos. However, it did get good reviews at the time and I think that is more likely due to it exceeding expectations than actually being that good.
First, don't expect this to be on par with 1981's Beauty and the Beat. The youthful energy and punk rock edge of that album is hard to reproduce at this stage of the game, especially considering that it was already largely gone a year later when they released the inconsistent Vacation album, which along with 1984's Talk Show had only a few good songs and a lot of filler. What God Bless... gives us though is a largely above average set of songs with only a slight lull through the middle. The songs are solid, mixing upbeat pop with slower ballads and the sound is very much the Go-Gos with only a touch of 90s alt rock influence in places. The Go-Gos successfully walk the line between losing their identity and merely recreating their past and that alone makes this one of the better reunion albums out there. Still, there is absolutely nothing essential about it, so this is only for those who wish for more quantity in the Go-Gos' catalog. If you're looking for quality, Beauty and the Beat is still the way to go. However, if you're going to buy a second Go-Gos album, this should edge out both Vacation and Talk Show.