GIRLSCHOOL — Play Dirty (review)

GIRLSCHOOL — Play Dirty album cover Album · 1983 · NWoBHM Buy this album from MMA partners
1/5 ·
Well I hate to do this to my beloved Girlschool, the all girl NWOBHM pioneers, but this album is a travesty from end to end with only 2 decent songs and enough filler material to grace all the B sides to all their singles. They began their career with 3 fabulous albums especially the heavy blitz of “Hit and Run” and then they produced this. This was produced by Slade's Noddy Holder and it sounds like Slade meets Vixen and other offenders of false metal. The result is the worst Girlschool album in history.

Even the album cover was akin to Emerson Lake & Palmer’s “Love Beach” disaster, with the girls looking like sex goddesses, out of place and uncomfortable. The songs on this are embarrassing, especially the cover version of glamour puss T-Rex, ‘2oth Century Boy’, surely the silliest cover of this song by girls who should know better.

I think they were on one vodka too many when they agreed to produce the appalling Slade inspired ‘1-2-3-4 Rock 'n’ Roll’ , that ended up on an EP prior to this release and now you can hear it on the CD as a bonus track, sorry that is no bonus.

There are some real glitzy fluffed up songs on this such as ‘Breaking All the Rules’ and the forgettable nonsense of ‘Going Under’. The other single was written by Holder, ‘Burning in the Heat’ which is tolerable in its own cheesy way. ‘Play Dirty’ was a single and the promo was the best thing about it showing the girls walking around with attitude leering into the camera.

The truly detestable songs were those that didn’t suit the image such as a synth-soaked 80s powerless ballad, Surrender’. There are a couple of rockers at the end, ‘Rock Me, Shock Me’ and ‘Breakout’ and then mediocrity returns with the last track.

The tracks that are Ok are featured on compilations rendering this album obsolete. It would make a perfect beer coaster, complete with sexualised female stares and skin tight leotards. This is a sellout and the lowest point for the band. So low in fact that Kelly buggered off for good, as she was always a hard rocker and she hated what the band had become. The only way was up for the band after this shocking embarrassment.
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