A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.
This Monster Power Pop Debut by the Knack is an AMAZINGLY well-recorded album, with the kind of Wall to Wall Big Beat Live Rock Sound that rivals Back in Black and Nevermind — if you’re lucky enough to have a copy that sounds like this one! (If you’re not then it doesn’t.)
Side two here has White Hot Stamper sound, and let me be clear: this is a Rock Demo Disc that is very likely to lay waste to whatever rock demo disc you currently treasure. My Sharona is simply OUT OF THIS WORLD here. You just can’t record drums and bass any better!
And let’s not forget the song Lucinda on this side. It’s got exactly the same incredibly meaty, grungy, ballsy sound that Back in Black does, but it managed to do it in 1979, a year earlier!
Mike Chapman produced this album and he is a recording GENIUS. How much better could it get you ask? The answer is: None more better.
Side one was not in the same league as this OUT OF THIS WORLD side two. It earned an A Plus grade — it has big bass and plenty of rockin’ energy but lacks the presence and spaciousness of the best. If you have your volume up good and loud you may be impressed with the sound on side one — in fact you should be — but when you flip this one over you are going to freak out.
Come to Life, Would You!
So many copies we played of The Knack just didn’t come to life the way the good ones do. Especially noticeable on many of the pressings we played was a lack of bass foundation and punch. When the bass comes in at the opening of My Sharona it should make your neighbors come knocking. On most copies the effect is, to be charitable, less than startling, especially if you’ve heard it sound the way it can on our Hot Stampers. Let me tell you, THEY ROCK.
Dropping the needle on the average copy we kept asking ourselves Wha’ Happen? Where’s the bass, man? Only the best copies let you hear the bass with all its power and glory intact. (Of course you have to have the kind of dynamic full-range system that can reproduce that kind of power down low; we never tire of making the case for big dynamic speakers because we know what a THRILL it is to hear a record like this played good and loud on them.)
Allow us to paraphrase our listing for Back in Black, a record famous (around here anyway) for its Rock and Roll Sound:
Big, Bold, Headbangin’ Sound
Side two has STUNNING, A+++, MASTER TAPE SOUND. My Sharona is HUGE with shocking presence. From the moment the electric guitar and kick drum jumped out of the speakers, we knew we were in for a real treat. The transparency and clarity are shocking — we heard texture on the guitars and room around the drums that simply weren’t to be found elsewhere, plus tons of echo and ambience. The vocals simply could not be any better — they’re breathy and full-bodied with loads of texture. The bottom end is Right On The Money — big, beefy, and rock-solid. You probably never thought you’d ever use a Knack LP as a Demo Disc, but this side two will have you rethinking that position — it’s ALIVE!
Real Studio Space
One of the qualities we heard on the more transparent copies is huge studio space around the drum kit, especially the kick. We love that “unbaffled” sound; it lets the long delayed reflections off the back wall clearly be heard. Until we got our EAR 324 in 2007 we couldn’t get a good picture of just what was happening in the studio, but now those reflections are as clear as a bell on record after record, from The Planets to Physical Graffiti.
The advent of top quality stand alone phono stages is, in our opinion, one of the most important revolutions in audio in recent times. Room treatments that allow that three dimensional studio space to be recreated in your very own living room are another.
Let Me Out
Your Number or Your Name
(She’s So) Selfish
Good Girls Don’t
Siamese Twins (The Monkey and Me)
That’s What the Little Girls Do
AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review
The Knack attempted to update the Beatles sound for the new wave era on their debut. A good idea that was well executed, but critics cried “foul” when millions sold after Capitol’s pre-release hype (it went gold in 13 days and eventually sold five million copies, making it one of the most successful debuts in history).
Get the Knack is at once sleazy, sexist, hook-filled, and endlessly catchy — above all, it’s a guilty pleasure and an exercise in simple fun. When is power pop legitimate anyway? Includes the unforgettable hits “My Sharona” and “Good Girls Don’t.”