Joe Jackson

Beat Crazy

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Before exploring jump blues and early R&B on 1981's Jumpin' Jive and later jazz and Latin styles on 1982's Night and Day, Joe Jackson expanded his power pop and punk m.o. with this, his reggae-tinged third album. Jackson sticks with the short songs and punk feel of his first two releases, but strategically adds rocksteady and jazz elements here and there. A direct reggae influence is heard on such dub-style cuts like "In Every Dream Home," while more of a pastiche approach is evident on tracks like "Mad at You." Jackson even riffs off of Linton Kwesi Johnson's dub poetry sides with the dancefloor politics of "Battleground," while also laying down some straight ska on "Pretty Boys." One also gets intimations of the sophisticated jazz-pop songwriting of Night and Day with torching gems like "One to One." As is the case on most of his albums, Jackson covers a wide array of topics here, including modern relationships, feminism, club life, and the social fringe. A solid effort.

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