Beat Happening is my hero Calvin Johnson's first band. It's all lo-fi and twee, one of the first of its kind.
See The Halo Benders, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Calvin Johnson
Suggested first purchase: Beat Happening
Beat Happening (1985) -- Sets the tone for all the albums to follow: songs about cutesy love that somehow doesn't sound excessively cutesy delivered with Calvin Johnson's great baritone on most of the songs and Heather Lewis's repetitiveness on others. Not the greatest music in the world, but almost unique to music of the mid-90s. The album (and the band itself) paved the way for other (often better, but sometimes worse) lo-fi bands.
Jamboree (1988) -- It's got moments of goodness, moments of boringness. Slightly more produced than the first album. This one's got "Indian Summer."
Black Candy (1989) -- Beat Happening isn't expanding their sound at all, but they've remained consistently good for when you're in the mood for them.
1983-1985 (1990) -- This collection includes the first album, the EPs, and rarities and live tracks. It's nice to have all this stuff together, but it's better to listen to the original album with the original sequencing (which the band tells you how to do with CD programming in the liner notes, if you're up for the hassle) and not have all the other, somewhat inconsistent get in the way. Maybe would have been better to release things as a separate rarities disc and let the first album be on its own.
Dreamy (1991) -- It's pretty dreamy. Beat Happening isn't the best band in the world, but whenever it's on, I like it.
You Turn Me On (1992) -- Beat Happening keeps the simple approach to music, but makes the songs longer, which means that there's not enough going on melodically or instrumentally to keep them interesting for as long as they are (usually), though it's still kind of nice to listen to in the background.
Copyright (c) Jan 2001 - Jan 2007 by Rusty Likes Music