Classic Album Review: You Turn Me On

Artist: Beat Happening
Full Title: You Turn Me On
Label: K/Sub Pop
Year: 1992
Track List:
1) Tiger Trap– 9
2) Noise– 9/10
3) Pinebox Derby– 10
4) Teenage Caveman– 10
5) Sleepy Head– 9/10
6) You Turn Me On– 9
7) Godsend- 8
8) Hey Day– 8/9
9) Bury the Hammer– 9

Right off the bat, this is definitely my favorite Beat Happening album and one of my all time favorite albums altogether. From the first chords of “Tiger Trap,” you know you are in for something special. The song is nearly seven minutes long, much longer than previous BH tunes and yet the simple, endearing, and always fascinating quality to their music is reatained. Most of the tracks here are longer than their previous LPs, but they don’t drag and you never feel bored. I take that back, “Godsend,” is wayyyy longer than necessary. It’s a great song…. for the first few minutes. 9:28 is too long! Besides that, I have nothing bad to see about this record. It is fantastic and proves that Beat Happening can utilize cleaner production to their advantage. Overall, the music sounds better than ever (though this was not the first cleaner sounding album), but specifically the vocals are phenomenal. Heather’s singing is the best, better than Calvin’s; “Noise” and “Sleepy Head” showcase her talent. Calvin’s classic baritone is prominent in catchy numbers like “Pinebox Derby,” “Teenage Caveman,” and “You Turn Me On.” On Teenage’ when he holds the “oneeeeeeee” in alone, it is easily one of the greatest musical moments ever recorded. For me, this album simply conists of amazing pop songs, what would be hits in another universe where earnest and quality music is appreciated on a grand scale. On first listens, that’s all I heard. I really had to pay attention, to notice the lo-fi, primitive nature of the music that was more obvious in other BH records. They did not feel like simple, Daniel Johnston esque, musically limited creations (not to say there is anything wrong with that stuff). My point being: the power of this album is in its presentation. I just hear a fabulous pop record with songs that hit you as complete ideas. I have to make a real dedicated effort to key in on that lack of musicality, which is clearly there, no doubt, but these songs are so damn excellent that it becomes of little concern. Though You Turn Me On may not be as seminal as their earlier work, it certainly continues that very same spirit and demonstrates the consistent awesomeness in their catalog.

Grade: A/A+

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