The Go-Go’s – Talk Show

The first two Go-Go’s albums fell right at the end of my college years, 1981 and 1982. Then they took a little break (by ’70s and ’80s standards), and their next album, “Talk Show,” didn’t appear until March, 1984. My whole world had changed since “Vacation.” College was over, college friends had largely moved on, and we were the people who stayed behind in a city where we both already had jobs, where I’d already lived full-time for five years. We got married in the fall of 1983, having moved into a very tidy little two-story townhouse apartment on the edge of downtown, a location that then was considered fairly posh. I couldn’t believe how nicely things were turning out, especially given how bad they had been a year and a half, two years before. I had been at a great job for several months, was just about to get sober (April 1984), and would be, once that hurdle was overcome, so happy with our little urban life. “Talk Show” reminds me of that great little time, there and in our next apartment (we moved on after just a year, looking for something less close to the highway and the police station). It’s an album that I will always associate with that first post-college apartment, that first post-college life.

Talk Show front cover
The front cover of Talk Show, which Charlotte Caffey called “fucking horrifying.”

But like the other Go-Go’s records, I never got this digitally. No idea why, it just didn’t happen. Other than a few cuts that made it onto cassettes that continued to be played well into the ’90s, I kinda consigned The Go-Go’s to relic status, something I used to listen to, something I thought was great, but not anything I would put on any more. Maybe it wasn’t their season any more, maybe I didn’t want to think about those transitional years for a long time. There was so much else to think about and listen to. But now, listening to these albums again: what a band. What songwriting, what performances. All beautifully produced, too – perhaps by disbanding early (this was their last new record until 2001), they avoided the worst excesses (musically) that ruined so much ’80s music. (Martin Rushent produced this one, who also produced some other legendary ’80s records that still hold up, like Altered Images’ “Happy Birthday” and “Pinky Blue,” and Human League’s “Hysteria.”) This record doesn’t miss a step from their previous efforts – the singles are solid, the album cuts are emotive, beautiful. (It is not possible to play “Forget That Day” loud enough.)

Talk Show back cover
Talk Show back cover – which is actually turned 90 degrees
Talk Show picture sleeve
Talk Show picture sleeve – the asterisks actually color code them to their names on the lyric sheet:
Talk Show lyric sleeve
Talk Show lyric sleeve
Talk Show custom label A side
Talk Show custom label B side
Talk Show custom label B side

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