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Singles Going Steady
The Buzzcocks

I.R.S.
Released: 1979

The BuzzcocksThis four-man English group specializes in short and energetic rock'n'roll songs -- 16 in all on this U.S. debut disk. One of the original U.K. new wave bands, the Buzzcocks has had a number of singles doing respectably at home. Like the Clash, the band plays very fast and is very intense, but the melodies, the tight harmonies, and the pop hooks are there. Best cuts: "What Do I Got," "Oh Shit," "Everybody's Happy Nowadays," "Just Lust," "Noise Annoys."

- Billboard, 1979.

Bonus Reviews!

The title is the perfect conceit for this collection of eight relentless British forty-fives -- arranged chronologically, the A sides on the A side and the B sides on the B -- about love and lust among unmarrieds. The Buzzcocks' knack for the title hook and the catchy backup chorus, along with their apparently asocial lyrics, tempts tastemakers in jaded olde England to dismiss them as mere pop, but over here their high-speed, high-register attack sounds powerful indeed. The best song on the record, "Orgasm Addict," is the most cynical; the second-best, "Everybody's Happy Nowadays," is the most gleeful. Good sign. A-

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

This is a magnificent collection of their first eight British singles, both A- and B-sides. Infectious melodies and buzzsaw guitars carry Shelley's finest set of broken-hearted rockers. * * * * *

- John Floyd, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

For those of you unwilling to jump right in and buy three CDs of Buzzcocks bliss, this single LP should convert you in a hurry -- sixteen tracks, and not a dud among them. Everything from the hilarious sex-junkie tale "Orgasm Addict" to the frustration of "Oh Shit" and "Something's Gone Wrong Again" this could be track for track one of the greatest rock albums ever made. Fast and furious, with Pete Shelley sounding wonderfully snotty, this is a piece of heaven pressed into 12 inches of vinyl.

- John Dougan, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

Created after they saw the Sex Pistols perform in February 1976, the Buzzcocks became the harmonic side of punk minimalism, blending buzz-saw guitars with sweet vocals like the Kinks at warp speed. The first of a succession of punk groups from Manchester, the Buzzcocks became one of the most successful singles band in one of the great ages of English singles, right up there with the Jam, Clash and Pistols. Since the Buzzcocks were a singles band first and foremost, their first American album, Singles Going Steady, is the most appropriate choice, collecting eight singles -- A sides and B sides. It's one of punk's best documents. * * * * *

- Leland Rucker, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

Led by "punk Beatle" Pete Shelley, this UK powerpop combo understood the value of a hook and never sneered at a finley crafted song. This blitz through their early years is comprised of eight perfect A sides, from the comical "Orgasm Addict" to a great song about having no one, "What Do I Get?," as well as their B-sides -- in a twist, they're as good as the flips. * * * * *

- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.

Singles collects eight British 45s into a perfect punk album. This Manchester group took the sound of the Ramones and made it jittery and even faster. Songs such as "Orgasm Addict" and "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" define a world of permanently frustrated punk desire.

Singles Going Steady was chosen as the 358th greatest album of all time by the editors of Rolling Stone magazine in Dec. 2003.

- Rolling Stone, 12/11/03.

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