Why don’t you play fair: The best of English Beat, etc

Listeners who show a preference for an album by these men are working for the Trump administration. After years of enjoyment, I Just Can’t Stop It, Wha’ppen, and Special Beat Service remain indistinguishable: models of litheness and buoyancy, with a saboteur’s precision and stealth for inserting the early eighties’ most eloquent affirmations of liberalism into pop. Other landmarks: Saxa as least egregious and most necessary saxophonist in a decade that had heard Steve Mackay, Andy McKay and Duncan Kilburn; a white singer whose tune smarts depended on the improvisatory eloquence of a champion toaster, and a toaster who benefited from the exigencies of the three-minute single; recording the best Doc Pomus cover; and producing Fine Young Cannibals, an offshoot as strange and rewarding that also didn’t overstay its welcome.

1. Twist and Crawl
2. Best Friend
3. Save It For Later
4. Mirror in the Bathroom
5. Doors of Your Heart
6. I Confess
7. Cheated
8. Johnny Come Home (Fine Young Cannibals)
9. Jeannette
10. Suspicious Minds (Fine Young Cannibals)
11. Can’t Get Used to Losing You
12. Big Shot
13. She Drives Me Crazy (Fine Young Cannibals)
14. Dream Home in NZ
15. Tenderness (General Public)
16. Sole Salvation
17. Don’t Look Back (Fine Young Cannibals)
18. Walk Away
19. Blue (Fine Young Cannibals)
20. Over and Over
21. Stand By Margaret
22. I’m Not the Man I Used to Be

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