One of the best albums ever recorded. Huge loss of Terry Hall got me to listen again.
The Specials is the debut album by British ska revival band The Specials. Released on 19 October 1979 on Jerry Dammers' 2 Tone label, the album is seen by some as the defining moment in the UK ska scene. Produced by Elvis Costello, the album captures the disaffection and anger felt by the youth of the UK's "concrete jungle"—a phrase borrowed from Bob Marley's 1973 album Catch a Fire—used to describe the grim, violent inner cities of 1970s Britain. The album features a mixture of original material and several covers of classic Jamaican ska tracks. A live version of "Too Much Too Young" was later released on a five-track EP, The Special AKA Live!, which went to number one on the UK charts. "'A Message to You, Rudy" was also released as a single. A digitally remastered edition also featuring promotional videos to "Gangsters" and "Too Much Too Young" as enhanced content was released by EMI in 2002. In 2013, NME ranked it at number 260 on its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
One of the best albums ever recorded. Huge loss of Terry Hall got me to listen again.
One of their great album. Not sure it's my favorite, but definitely really good. Also, if anyone can see them live, totally worth it (whenever we'll have live shows again, and hopefully they're not dead by then)
Absolutely magnificent album. Had the pleasure of seeing the Specials live in 1979 at Loughborough uni on the Two Tone tour with The Selecter and Dexy's. One of the best gigs of my life.
It's incredible that a bunch of kids with learning difficulties can deliver music of this quality.
I loved this album but I also couldn't wait for it to end.
Contrairement à ce qu'en a dit eltrapeze, cet album n'est pas nul, il est simplement mauvais.
if the voting structure was out of 10 then most of my 5 star reviews would be 9s. this however would be a big fat 10. i fucking love this album almost as much as a SHACK loves lamb chops.
I was going to do a my one track mind episode with a woman originally from england about this album. Wish I had gotten to that one before I threw in the towel. I would have loved to hear her more firsthand account of this album's significance. Having an interest in punk music inevitably leads you to it's intertwining with reggae/ska/rocksteady. Jamaican music was sort of the equivalent of HipHop to a certain segment of British youth at the time. I'd also say reggae/dub is the most significant precursor to hiphop in many ways but that's a whole nother conversation. Anyway, The Specials are pretty much THE archetypal British ska/two tone band that set the pattern for so many others to follow in their wake. It might sound formulaic now, but at that time they were creating that formula. Anyway, I like this album but don't love it. I find it very enjoyable and it would probably have been a great live show back in the day. It's fun and has the right amount of punk attitude in flashes so as to not spoil the party.
Absolutely love this. One of my favourites as a teenager, I loved this flavour of ska-punk, reminds me of skanking wildly to the local ska punk bands at gigs in dingy basements. Disillusion and hopelessness mixed with funky bass lines and upbeat horns. Deluxe version also has a live disc which is fun, wouldn't normally like live albums but you can feel their live energy. Favourites: A message to you rudy too much too young Monkey Man
Iconic album that offered more than the superb tracks it contains. Part of a force that was challenging endemic racism, acceptance of unemployment and community disintegration all done with musicality and energy that would blow your porkpie hat off!
I had heard of The Specials for years and never gave them a try. Now I wish I gave them a chance sooner. Amazing album front to back. Felt ahead of its time. Not a single song on the whole record that I disliked. I know I'll be coming back to it in the future and it has me interested to check out the rest of their work. Amazing. Favorite Song: A Message To You Rudy
Amazing album, an all-time classic. I love the punk energy and the ska attitude working together. I find the whole thing very moving, reminiscent of a time when music tried to change things (if only peoples’ minds) and be a force for good. Hard to pick a standout track, but have always loved the closing time feel of You’re Wondering Now.
It’s the Rude Boys ‘Abbey Road’, innit? I can see why.
A supreme vibe, some timeless bangers, and redolent of a genre that was stacked with cool bands. Only downside is that there isn't a scene half as cool as this anymore. Cheers for reminding me, lads!
Thanks for introducing me the two tone genre. As a punk fan, I absolutely love this fusion with ska. It's jazzy, danceable, and full of punk energy. Lots of diversity in these tracks, setting the standard for later ska bands to follow. They don't repeat the same trick twice; it's full of surprises. Although all the tracks are good, I feel like it fell short starting with "Too Hot", but picked up again with "Blank Expression." Favorite tracks: Gangsters, A Message to You Rudy, Doesn't Make It Alright, Stupid Marriage, Too Much Too Young, You're Wondering Now
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4KCB3-UZqM Favorite tracks: A Message to You Rudy, Blank Expression, Stupid Marriage. Album art: Really dig this layout, with the track list and everything framing the band photo. 3/5
Ouais ça fait changement un ska reaggea.j'ai bien aimé. Ça date en plus mais ça a un bon son 3.75
If you love spending time after work down at your local drinking lagers with the lads, or chanting club songs in a group on your way to the weekend football match...then this albums for you. I don’t particularly see the enjoyment in either of those activities, hence I didn’t get much out of listening to this music. It’s dated yobbo English reggae and it’s ugly. The whole album reminded me of the tv show Minder and the song from the same era ‘Ullo John! Got New Motor?’ by (I think) Alexei Sayle...both of which should never be allowed out of the late 70s/early 80’s and definitely be kept there under lock and key. I found listening to these tracks utterly annoying and would describe them as sloppy, crass & an insult to my senses. 1 Star
No. Just no. It sounds like this research that was conducted about the most unlikeable song.
No thanks, I can 100% say this will never get listened to again
Je suis à deux doigts de devenir particulièrement vulgaire pour écrire cette review, comment peut on servir un album aussi minable, mais pire, comment peut on considerer cet album comme "à écouter avant de mourir"? Là Robert, permet moi de te dire que c'est la honte, et que tout le générateur est déçu de ce choix, on pensait que tu valais mieux que ça. Autant en emporte le vent donc.
I hate ska
Are they called “The Specials” because they’re special? I don’t know and frankly I don’t care- I could barely get through this album once. This may be my least favourite album so far, so in a sense they are special.
Кринж не прошедший время
SKA (old school)
Perfect ska day
Ska is a part of me, and I will never turn my back on Ska!
There is exactly 0 song I don't like on this album, and a lot I really like.
I was listening to The Specials a day or so ago, they make me happy. I'm listening now with a giant grin on my face. As soon as I saw that chequered album cover appear on the page my grin began, and hasn't left since. I'm a kid again, with all the music that goes with that. I love it, these guys can really do no wrong in my eyes. Lovely stuff!
Favourite so far. Enjoy ska and knew several songs.
This was so great! I loved the vibe and the message.
Just totes amazeballs, sets the feeling for the rest of the day. The gloom of the setting, offset by the bounce in the feet - noice.
This album is awesome.
Jay-Eff A message to you, Jay-Eff Pa pa ra pa ra paaaa
da monKE MAAAN
Genial, renovaron el ska haciendo que suene un poco más eléctrico pero sin que se pierdan esas ganas de bailar.
some cracking songs, lively, social commentary
Classic. My last year in school. Timeless.
Теперь я знаю, кто это
Excellent album, good jamming and sunny vibes, songs stuck in my head for days
Definitive Punk/SKA album of the time.
One of the great debut albums and still throbs with energy 40 odd years later.
Very good example of ska punk. 1979. Liked it.
Definitive ska album and set the (two) tone for so much to come
Awesome mix of styles to create something unique. Crazy that Costello produced this between Armed Forces and Get Happy in 79. Fun to discover that little snippet of Bohemian Like You in Little Bitch. Will definitely listen again.
Another undeniable classic. Two days running. Best thing to ever come out of Cov. It amuses me that a band so avowedly anti racist can be so misogynistic, but the same hatred gets turned inwards enough that you feel it may just be a general misanthropy from Terry Hall (that's borne out by him over the next 40 years!) But there is no fat in the 45 minutes here - every track is there and on point. That it is the last album on the list from the 70s is fitting, as it feels like a lot of the excess is culled here, with an urgency and excitement often missing in some of the leaden rawk stodge that pads out the decade.
Love it! Fantastic album.
Bursting with bangers - my favourite album in the list so far. Dammers deserved far more praise than he got.
Hard to guess what this might sound like to fresh ears, but to my older ones it is a perfect balance of black, white and the shades of grey in between. Over time, the knees-up familiarity of the hits has drowned out the angst and anger of the rest. The dubby album version of Too Much Too Young came as the biggest surprise, but ultimately a welcome one: it takes the song to a more mournful place than the spikier no-future version we're used to.
A perfect snapshot in time. Life, politics and race in Britain. The kitchen sink dramas. The bottled aggression. Desperate and beautiful.
Fantastic from start to finish. I think SKA ran a bit off the rails in the 90's revival, resulting in the genre getting a bad wrap. Therefore, it's incredibly refreshing to go back to the roots with this album; to be reminded of just how fun the blend of influences are. The album starts out with the seminal \"A Message to You Rudy\", which introduces not only their fusion of reggae, punk, brass, funk and R&B, but also the bands socially minded lyrical leanings. And the whole album carries on as it starts, each track iterating on the same core spirit of house-party meets social commentary. And with that said, you'll need to excuse me. I'm going to immerse myself in The Specials' discography. Cheers!
It’s ska. You take it or you leave it. This one though, this one I’ll take. Gladly.
Easy 5 star. One of the best two-tone bands and albums released.
Been listening to this since high school. Excellent.
I am a ska fanatic and this is an absolute classic. YMMV if you don’t appreciate the genre of kings.
10/10 album did they invent ska? it sure sounds like they did
Kamalt El Hadra Loula Me Rbo3 Ethaleth. Barcha Bal8am Vocals Wack. Prooly Working On My First Televised Interview Ever
An immensely satisfying album. Not a duff track on it, and still sounds as fresh in 2022 as it did in 1979. Political, humourous, sociological music but rollicking good tunes.
I grew up listening compulsively to this album - so I am not even going to pretend to leave an objective review. Still sounds great!
A personal favorite and a band that influenced a whole next generation of ska and punk.
A perfect picture of Britain in 1979 - an album that absolutely stands the test of time.
Great band and great album, I listen to a lot of 90's ska revival and hard to argue the influence that this band had. Too bad they didn't last as this lineup for long.
Ska y reggae. Vinilo.
I loved it. This is a great ska album.
Geweldig ska album, heeft veel veranderd in het ska/reggae genre
A cool mix of rock'n'roll and reggae tracks.
The Specials 2 (more pop songs) will is more of a favourite, but their debut is almost just as good and the album style is -after relistening- not even that far away from the follow-up. I would put both in the list, together with the two Fun Boy Three albums (which are 5 star as well).
Rarely has a band emerged with its first album with such a clear vision statement. The look, the sound, the politics and the voice of this band is clear and strong on this record. The Specials were an integrated band, with equal influences from black (ska, reggae, soul, r'n'b) and white (punk, rock) forms. Politically engaged in the new Thatcherite England, they were both protesting and ready to party. Elvis Costello did a great job of capturing the live feel of their performances (although some contemporaneous reviews bemoan how much slower the record is than their live shows). Smart, political, and above all fun, this is such a great record. It makes me wanna take to the streets in protest _and_ dance.
The sheer joy and energy from this album still gets be buzzing off me tits more than 40 years later. SO many memories of youth club discos, especially with Nightklub. I could listen and dance to this every day.
Love it. Such a banger. I remember thinking Stupid Marriage was such a funny song when I was a kid
Хоккейная команда с берегов Невы И музыка которую играем мы
Great album, full energy and holding up well. One of those albums that makes me grin.
Adelantados a su época, álbum impecable y claramente influyente dentro del género. Nite Klub y Too Much Too Young son par de bombas.
Rating: 9/10 Best songs: A message to you Rudy, Do the dog, Concrete jungle, Monkey man, New era
heard the songs, never listened to the whole thing. how is that possible. Now I understand why all ska bands sound the same (in a good way) they're trying to recreate this sound.
What a statement of intent this album was. So good still
Now we're talking. 5*s in the bank. wall to wall hits. hard to beat really
Never listened to this before, expected quite a bit due to its timelessness, it did not disappoint! Upbeat, sounds great today so must have blown people away in ‘79
Really upbeat music. A touch of reggae and light alt rock.
I didn't knew I could enjoy ska music and that I just did. A great album and lovely tunes.
I listened to this last week, without prompting. Take that, algorithm. *adjusts porkpie hat* *skanks away*
Whatcha gonna do? Just dropped this rating on you! This kinda ballz. special album no cap fr fra
The perfect 2-tone album. This started the 2nd wave and lots of good things would've never existed if it wasnt for The Specials.
This is an album I wish I'd been more familiar with. Better late than never!
It’s pretty remarkable the effect Bob Marley, Toots, and Jamaican music at large had on the world. It’s pretty remarkable that such a huge subsection of disaffected, urban, English youth would turn to rocksteady, ska, and largely upbeat, surface-level-silly music to express their frustration with the modern world’s widening inequality gap and bureaucratic absurdisms. The result is a fantastically satirical and fun record that feels utterly timeless. As relevant and influential today as it was in 1979. A perfect cross-section of world music, punk rock, and new wave with more angst, political heart, and purpose than most burgeoning music scenes can hope for. The world of music in the 1980s, 90s and beyond would feel very different if not for this record. I am especially partial to the band’s sophomore album, More Specials, but what that album gains in sophistication, songwriting, and studio fidelity, it loses in spirit, urgency, and tenacity. To listen to the their self-titled debut today is to look back through history and experience a movement otherwise frozen in time. Few records, in my opinion, can claim that power quite like The Specials can.
Wow what a great week it’s been for 1001. This is such a great album, a unique & relevant (for ’79) mix of punk, ska, reggae and rock n’ roll, with the backdrop of working-class England under Thatcher. All done with a great sense of humour. I’ve always loved the pogo-worthy rockers like “Night Club” and “Stupid Marriage” but had forgotten about the slower tracks like “Doesn’t make it all Right” which puts their song-writing skills on display. The tinny production gives the LP a nice vintage feel. It’s disappointing that they became more subdued with their transformation to Specials aka, but in some ways it makes this album stand out more.
The album that defines a genre. Genuinely enjoyable throughout.