Friday, October 28, 2016
Joe Jackson: Look Sharp! (1979)
"Is she really going out with him?"
- New Rose, The Damned (1976)
The first time I heard Joe Jackson's Is She Really Going Out With Him? I thought it was some sort of novelty song. I didn't take it seriously, nor did I like it very much. It wasn't until I heard the whole album that I understood what Joe Jackson was all about, and that might have been new wave or new wave punk, pseudo-ska, and -- later -- jazz and jump blues. Others might have labelled him a singer-songwriter or maybe alternative or simply pop.
This is a really great debut LP. But (or should I say "butt"?) I have to temper my appreciation for Mr. Jackson because of his crazy smoking ideas, as I have mentioned in the past. Here we have a seemingly intelligent individual spewing the most ridiculous anti-science. It's a good case of cognitive dissonance.
At some point or other, someone compared Joe Jackson with Elvis Costello. That had never occurred to me before, but I guess it makes some sense. Both were lyrically-interesting versatile new wave artists.
The good news is that after the catchy but bizarre, Is She Really Going Out With Him? there are some other truly great tracks, like Sunday Papers, Look Sharp, Got the Time, etc.
I am pretty sure that my sister bought a copy of the 7" 45RPM single of Is She Really Going Out With Him? Sometime after that, I picked up a copy of this record, and I remained a Joe Jackson fan for some time. That is, until he started dabbling in classical music, not that I dislike classical music. I just prejudged it and was never really interested at all. His career had trailed off by the point anyway.