May 11

Buzzcocks: “What Do I Get”


Not a bad single in the bunch…

Among the first wave of punk bands to emerge from England in the late ’70s, the Buzzcocks stood out from their peers for a couple of reasons: 1) They were one of the few punk bands who unapologetically sang about love and other personal trials and tribulations on a regular basis, eschewing the more typical punk subject of anger toward the establishment. 2) They played punk with a power pop twist, writing some of the most catchy songs of the punk era. Leader Pete Shelley was a lovable sad sack, and his voice conveyed his songs of romantic disappointment perfectly. As in “What Do I Get,” a 1978 single that ended up on their amazing 1979 singles collection, Singles Going Steady: a whining Shelley bemoans his fate as an unrequited lover, as the band roars along like a jet engine, barely able to restrain themselves from racing ahead of the tempo. Shelley seems too down on his luck to notice any of that, though. “What Do I Get” brings together all the Buzzcocks’ strengths into one glittering 3-minute piece of punk/pop perfection. But don’t take my word for it…

This video is a lot of fun to watch (especially Shelley’s deadpan guitar solo), so although the widget above offers much better sound quality, I’m including it as well.

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