There is a good chance you don’t know The Knack or this album outside of their massive hit, “My Sharona.” Before this review, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you who did the song, much less what album it was from.
I’m sure I heard “My Sharona” at various times throughout my life, but the first time I really took notice of it was about four years ago during the film Super 8. The film is set at the tail end of the ’70s and at one point, the group of young high school boys are hanging out and rocking along with “My Sharona” and I remember thinking how infectious that song was.
It really is. “My Sharona” is an absolute powerhouse of a song. It’s crazy that this band created such an earworm of a tune from a hook that consists of literally the same note at different octaves.
It’s a drastically repetitive pop song; aside from that ridiculously catchy one-note hook, there are a total of maybe four chords in the whole tune. The guitar solo in the bridge is played over a very simple I-V-IV chord structure. Nothing here is musically impressive, except that this band went as minimalist as you can get with pop music and created this insanely awesome, hard-rocking song. Very cool.
The rest of the album has a great pop-rock feel to it. This album missed the new-wave sound of the ’80s and is much better for it. It’s not full on dramatic rock like Led Zeppelin; this album consists almost completely of major chords. It’s a little bit Rolling Stones (“Frustrated” sounds like a reworking of the Stones’ “Shattered” from Some Girls), a little Tom Petty/Heartbreakers, a little Paul McCartney/Wings (“Maybe Tonight” is a great Wings homage), maybe a dash of ELO. It’s almost-harmless rock and roll but tons of fun.
Ultimately, this is a pretty great debut album that collapses under the weight of “My Sharona,” which is a shame because there are a lot of fine rockin’ tunes on here. It’s interesting to think that the band’s biggest hit might’ve also been their undoing.
Top 3 Tunes:
- My Sharona
- Siamese Twins (The Monkey And Me)
- Maybe Tonight