The Joup Friday Album: The Specials – The Specials

downloadIt’s that time of year again! Summer is ending and school is back in session. It’s time to buckle down and focus on adulting. There’s one more thing we have to do first, though. There’s one weekend of fun left to put up the blinders and let it all go.

The time has come for fair food, crowds, loud music, port-o-potties, and bees.

Lots and lots of bees.

That’s right, folks. For the festival-focused, it’s time to head into the “Concrete Jungle” and leave it all there. Happy Riot Fest weekend!

I seriously look forward to Riot Fest all year long. There’s something so special about getting to see so many great acts in one place. It just takes a weight off your shoulders. Everything going on just melts away, leaving nothing but raw joy. It’s time to relax, yell, and dance. You can join in at home, too! Clear your living room dance floor, grab a drink, and throw on your pork pie hat. Tonight, we dance to one of my favorite Riot Fest acts of last year. We’re listing to The Specials.

The Specials’ 1979 debut album, The Specials, is indeed a special album.  It opens with a cover of Robert “Dandy” Thompson’s “A Message to You Rudy” and just takes off from there.

It’s absolutely timeless. Tracks like “Doesn’t Make it Alright” are just as relevant today as they were when they were released. Doubly so when faced with the race and social issues currently coursing through the political landscape. Vocalist Neville Staples said it better than I could.

“We were working as a black and white unit, at the time there was a lot of racism happening. So we just thought, ‘Well, we went to school with black and white guys. Instead of fighting and calling people names, let’s work together.’ So we combined black music with punk. We just mixed the two cultures.”


You think we’d have learned our lesson by now. The Specials are a band of unity, and we could all learn and grow from that.

Speaking of growth, The Specials always seemed to have a very honest, conflicting view on growing up. This past year has brought a lot of challenges, but also a lot of good into mine and my partner’s life. Things got a little more exciting a few weeks ago when we made the decision to settle down and start the home buying process. Yes, folks, it’s time to think of our future. This weekend is no time for that, though. The e-mail alerts are going off and the home search apps are being disabled. What is it about the sudden need to buckle down and straighten out that makes you want to let loose even more? The Specials nail this feeling with tracks like “Too Much Too Young” and “Nite Club.”

The Specials flawlessly combines serious issues with not taking yourself too seriously. I suggest we all let loose a little bit and take it in. However you choose to do this, I hope you have some success.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tag, Amy!

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