The Knack - Serious Fun (1991) Feb 20, 2010 17:07:22 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Feb 20, 2010 17:07:22 GMT -5
Seriously, this album is fun.
Sadly, Knack frontman Doug Fieger died on February 14, 2010. He left behind a wealth of Power Pop gems that was often either overlooked or fogotten. Like this album, Serious Fun, for example.
Produced by Don Was, Serious Fun was The Knack's comeback album in 1991. Lead single, "Rocket O' Love," rocketed into the Top 10 Mainstream Rock tracks chart at #9, and all seemed to be well again for The Knack. Unfortunately, the record company pulled the plug on promotion of the album at that point, undermining what was a fairly triumphant return.
Even so, the album reintroduced one of Rock's premier Power Pop groups - the group with one of the biggest hit singles of the 70's in, "My Sharona." It was a song so big that it prompted a backlash against the band (the whole, "Nuke the Knack," campaign). But no matter how big the backlash was, it couldn't change the fact that Get The Knack was a great album.
And Serious Fun is a worthy follow up to that album.
Don Was did a great job of updating the band's overall sound (both the sonics and the style) for 1991. Just a little edgier and harder overall (not much, just a little), Serious Fun translated The Knack very well into a new decade. Leadoff track (and lead single), "Rocket O' Love," was a burst of energy, complete with some nice Power Poppy riffing and some excellent vocal harmonies. This is a great song, darned near as good as, "My Sharona." New drummer Billy Ward fit right in, and Fieger, lead guitarist Berton Averre, and bass player Prescott Niles never sounded better as a group.
From there the album moves through a series of moods and grooves, all of which worked together extremely well. Serious Fun is a cohesive album where second track, "I Want Love," has a bouncy, boppy, but still rocking groove and is followed up by the more straightforward title track without missing a beat or sounding the least bit awkward. "Serious Fun," would have worked extremely well as a follow up single. It's both poppy and rocking. It's got some cool guitar parts, and some really, really nice vocal harmonies and a killer hook (not to mention some very Beach Boys like harmony vocals in the middle section).
"One Day At A Time," is moodier, and mellower, and could also have made for a good top 40 type single. The band effortlessly follows that song up with a mid tempo stomper in, "River of Sighs," which is a good song with more nice harmony vocals in the chorus.
In fact, nearly the entire album has outstanding harmony vocals, often with (as previously noted) a Beach Boys flair. "Let's Get Lost," is one of the best examples, with an outstanding vocal harmony chorus that is instantly infectious. It is a fantastic song that should be long remembered by Fieger's fans.
"Shine," is harder edged than most of the album, but not so much that it doesn't fit it. A Metal song this isn't, but it's got attitude to spare. It keeps the string of winners going. As does the more dynamic acoustic laced and quite artistically satisfying, "Won't Let Go/Ace's & Eights." This song clearly shows a more mature side of The Knack, but one that isn't at all out of place with the rest of their catalog.
Fieger, Averre, bass player Prescott Niles, and Ward continue the momentum with, "Body Talk," even if this one is a little more standard up until the chorus (which is again, a special piece of Pop Rock vocal melody magic). They get boppy and bouncy again with the playfully titled, and somewhat Pretender sounding, "(I'll Be) Your Mau Mau." It's another playful song, nothing deep, but in the context of Serious Fun it's another hit. They close out the album with, "Doin' The Dog," which has a somewhat similar beat to, "My Sharona," even if everything else is unique to this track. It's another burst of energy, and the right way to end the album.
Producer Was got the best out of the band for this album, and oversaw a recording that is razor sharp without sounding too harsh.
Serious Fun was a triumphant comeback - even if the comeback was cut short and didn't reach the heights that it could have with some continued support of the record company.