In 1981, Beauty and the Beat's six-week run at No. 1 made history for the Go-Go's, a quintet of California bad girls who turned shaggy punk songs into tight, poppy hits. Combining the rugged spunk of peers like the Replacements with the surfy New Wave of the B-52's and Belinda Carlisle's bright, energetic vocals, the Go-Go's bopped their way to a dubious honor: becoming the first all-girl group who wrote their own tracks to hit the top of the album chart.
The Go-Go's' debut is best known for its catchiest singles — the bouncy, chugging "Our Lips Are Sealed" and loose, anthemic "We Got the Beat" — but all 11 songs were ready for radio play. "This Town" rides a slinky riff into '60s psych-rock terrain, while the garagey "Skidmarks on My Heart" shows off Gina Schock's power drumming and the band's darker edge. "How Much More" is a precursor to the jangly indie rock of early labelmates R.E.M., with its chiming guitar line and tight snare fills. The album wraps with "Can't Stop the World," a sugary tune about resilience that still sounds fresh and inspiring nearly three decades after its brazen arrival.