Paul Collins' reputation as one of the wonder boys of L.A. power pop largely rests on the two albums he cut with the Beat in 1979 and 1982, and this two-fer CD reissue from Wounded Bird offers up both LPs on one disc, with extras included to round out the package. The Beat still sounds like a minor classic all these years later, offering a dozen sharp tunes and enough energy to fuel their own P.A. system; Collins' songs are smart without sounding overly brainy, and cover the typical topics (girls, jobs, cars) with an enthusiasm and spunk that makes them sound fresh. In a better world, "Don't Wait Up for Me" would have been a hit single, and "Rock 'n' Roll Girl" should be the theme song of record collector geeks everywhere. Unfortunately, The Kids Are the Same isn't quite as good; Bruce Botnick's production is a shade fussier than on the first set, and the material doesn't manage the same batting average, with Collins dipping into his more subdued side here, which isn't bad at all but sure ain't as exciting as the first LP's chargers. But Collins and his bandmates still sound game, and the title cut is a superb slice of up-tempo post-teen angst. Toss in two bonus cuts and you get a extra-large portion of pure-pop goodness; maybe this isn't as invaluable as that Big Star two-fer or those Raspberries reissues, but if you love killer hooks played with plenty of real rock drive, you need some Beat in your record collection, and this is the best place to get some.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming