10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
"Cool For Cats" is the album where Squeeze hit their stride, when Difford & Tilbrook were mentioned in the same sentences with Lennon & McCartney.
In retrospect, that seems hyperbolic, but I couldn't resist falling in love with this album. And Squeeze in general. Squeeze was a band to love.
As other reviewers have noted, the production here shows its' age, and it really wasn't that spectacular to begin with. This remaster (finally, thank you very much) presents the album as clean as it's ever gonna get.
You'll hardly notice, as the sheer tunefulness of these songs...the melodies that firmly lodge in your brain, the harmonies very suggestive of those Fab Four, the dizzying piano fills, locomotive drumming...it's a set of terrific songs. And Squeeze doesn't sit around wasting a lot of time...7 of the original 12 songs are under three minutes.
Many of them paint little English vignettes, as detailed as a small, independent film.
Personal favorites include the opener, "Slap and Tickle" with it's proto-synth-pop background;
"It's Not Cricket" - a lovely story-song with boinging bells and piano;
"Hop, Skip and Jump" - their best-bar-band-in-the-world song;
"Slightly Drunk" - for the opening line ""slightly drunk once again";
and the exquisite "Goodbye Girl"...
...heck, I could find something nice to say about pretty much every song on the record.
This one's up there with the greats, and pretty much essential to anyone who likes what was once called "power pop". Squeeze towers over that genre...and here's where it begins.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2007
Wondering why this particular mini-sleeve is the most expensive in the set of 7 Squeeze albums released earlier this year?
It's because there are not one, not two, not three, not even four, but FIVE album sleeves included in the package!
There is the original purple sleeve with embossed raised lettering. The other four 'sleeves are iridescent blue, yellow, pink and green (see images above, and if you want to have fun, run your mouse cursor over all of them quickly for a show).
A very "Cool" album just got even kewler!
The masters used for this album and the rest of the set are the same remasters done in '97. However, most or all of these have more bonus tracks, also remastered for these editions, than the U.K. '97 releases.
WHAT IS A JAPAN "MINI-LP-SLEEVE" CD?
Have you ever lamented the loss of one of the 20th Century's great art forms, the 12" vinyl LP jacket? Then "mini-LP-sleeve" CD's may be for you.
Mini-sleeve CDs are manufactured in Japan under license. The disc is packaged inside a 135MM X 135MM cardboard precision-miniature replica of the original classic vinyl-LP album. Also, anything contained in the original LP, such as gatefolds, booklets, lyric sheets, posters, printed LP sleeves, stickers, embosses, special LP cover paper/inks/textures and/or die cuts, are precisely replicated and included. An English-language lyric sheet is always included, even if the original LP did not have printed lyrics.
Then, there's the sonic quality: Often (but not always), mini-sleeves have dedicated remastering (20-Bit, 24-Bit, DSD, K2/K2HD, and/or HDCD), and can often (but not always) be superior to the audio on the same title anywhere else in the world. There also may be bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.
Each Japan mini-sleeve has an "obi" ("oh-bee"), a removable Japan-language promotional strip. The obi lists the Japan street date of that particular release, the catalog number, the mastering info, and often the original album's release date. Bonus tracks are only listed on the obi, maintaining the integrity of the original LP artwork. The obi's are collectable, and should not be discarded.
All mini-sleeve releases are limited edition, but re-pressings/re-issues are becoming more common (again, not always). The enthusiasm of mini-sleeve collecting must be tempered, however, with avoiding fake mini-sleeves manufactured in Russia and distributed throughout the world, primarily on eBay. They are inferior in quality, worthless in collectable value, a total waste of money, and should be avoided at all costs.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2002
Squeeze's first three albums trace the startling transformation of a band evolving from a diamond-in-the-rough punk band with an unmistakable pop sensibility, to a polished new-wave outfit that seems to effortlessly crank out an unending stream of catchy masterpieces. "Cool For Cats" is the second album, and the sound is squarely in the middle between the stumbling debut, "UK Squeeze", and the fully-developed third album, "Argybargy", a true classic of Beatlesque pop-rock. The distinctive vocal sound of early Squeeze comes from the unusual gimmick of having both Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford singing the lead together, with Tilbrook an octave higher than Difford. But it wasn't long before they moved away from that sound, with the sweeter-voiced Tilbrook gradually taking over most of the lead vocal chores from the courser Difford. At the same time, the punk-ish energy of the earlier material gave way to the slower tempos and polished professionalism that has characterized the band for most of their long career. This evolution was dramatic and unmistakable from the debut, to "Cool For Cats", to "Argybargy", by which time the transformation was almost complete. "Cool For Cats" highlights are many, starting with the lead track, "Slap And Tickle", which is very reminiscent of the debut. The album then hits a lull, with the next 5 tracks not making much of an impression, but it finishes with 6 straight winners, starting with the high-energy pop of "Hop Skip And Jump". The next track is the stunning "Up The Junction", with Difford's lyrics telling a woeful tale of boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl because of his heavy boozing. Practically a short story set to music. The booze theme is repeated 2 songs later on the irresistibly catchy "Slightly Drunk". In fact, excessive drinking would become a recurring theme for lyricist Difford for many years to come. The next track, "Goodbye Girl" is a Tilbrook-sung ballad with a lovely melody, the type of song that would become Squeeze's trademark. The album comes to a close with the delightful, punky title track. All in all, a stellar effort by one of the greatest pop-rock bands ever.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 1999
I absolutely love this album! The lyrics are fun and entertaining, the music is a faster pace than some of their other albums. This one has a permanent place in my car. You just can't be in a bad mood after listening to "Touching Me Touching You", or any song on this album for that matter. May not be appreciated by fans who only like their radio hits.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2011
I have always loved this record. Every song. Slap. Tickle. Pop. Fresh and alive even after the years. All the energetic sillinesses that are instantly engineered out of Product these days. Bouncy, quick, rolling, pounding little tunes--each a story. Clever. Literate. Dig in. Humor around every riff. Of course, you have to have a sense of humor. These guys certainly did. Up the Junction (sad/funny portrait) made it onto their charts. Hundreds of hot bands like Squeeze from over yonder have come and gone without anybody here noticing much. We still worship the first wave. It's embarrassing. Squeeze is still out there somewhere. They go away and pop up again and again. After all this time they have about a zillion records and almost as many reincarnations. Argybargy and East Side Story are two of my other favorites. Sweets From a Stranger I felt deserved higher ratings. Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti as well. Cool For Cats is my ultimate favorite. Quirky fun.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2000
This is one of the few works(whether it be new wave, heavy metal or whatever) across the spectrum of rock and roll that I feel doesn't have a bad song on it. What's more, like most or all of Squeeze's earlier works, the mixing and sound production was exquisite even by today's standards. I don't think the US listening audience was ready for their sound and the "Englishization" of the lyrics may have affected their impact on the American market. These guys should be shoe ins for the Hall of Fame(try out "Argybargy" if you need more convincing).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2009
This was Squeeze at their pop peak, at the moment they first captured the public's imagination, and while they were still fresh, producing tunes that stuck in the ear and didn't need second listenings (although they often demanded them).
It's a great album, simple as that. They'd broken away from the pseudo-punk image that John Cale had tried to impose on them, and produced an album of irresistable 'lad' music, music that had no problem shouting "this is what it's like to be young!".
There are songs that are unstoppably fast here, some furious - Slap and Tickle, Touching Me Touching You, Hop, Skip and Jump, Cool for Cats and It's So Dirty (one of my favourites); there are songs that are quite bonkers, like It's Not Cricket; but it's the more melodic songs, songs such as Revue, Goodbye Girl, Slightly Drunk and Up The Junction, that really stick in the imagination. This is songcraft, eccentricity and energy blended to perfection.
This album is a classic. I've given it four stars not five because, while most bands would struggle to produce something as good as this, Squeeze actually got better.
on November 13, 2012
It is easy to dismiss the truckloads of post-punk and new wave bands that came on the scene with the advent of MTV in the early 1980's. All of a sudden, synth pop like A Flock of Seagulls and hundreds of similar bands were the rage, and Squeeze unfortunately got caught up in the mix. They survive today however, because as opposed to being one hit wonders Glenn Tillbrook and Chris Difford were gifted songwriters, drawing very positive comparisons to the Beatles with their British flavor and songs that were as irresistable as they were smart, meaning you wouldn't get bored with them. Boston's The Cars were on a heavier end of this pop style, but both bands were the best of the bunch.
"Cool For Cats" is the second album, and I'm hearing it again after years of missing them. I had remembered "Slap and Tickle" and the quirky title track, but the album sounds better now, maybe because I didn't appreciate its cleverness at the time. "It's Not Cricket" has a great bouncy synthesizer backing track, and "Touching Me, Touching You" has funny lyrics alongside the hooks. Other tunes have a way of popping into my head at random, a sure sign of song craft. One minute "Up The Junction" runs through my head, and then "Revue", etc. Distinctly Brit flavored, their charm is elevated as American listeners become acquainted with British phrases and terminology. The Beatles didn't shy away from their homeland roots and neither do Squeeze.
Squeeze never made it past the cult level stateside, and that's America's loss. This type of pop music is not the usual "Top 40" crap. There was a vibrant pop scene that featured tunes that should have been hits, but too often went over the heads of idiots who didn't want to have to think about their music. Marshall Crenshaw was one example, Squeeze another. Even the Ramones were pop-punk, getting their cues from sixties garage bands and Joey Ramone's tuneful voice anchoring the music and providing the counterpoint for Johnny Ramone's slash chords.
Nobody can take the place of the Beatles, but Squeeze came pretty damn close without being derivative. "Cool for Cats" is cool for everybody.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2004
As Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford have said in more than one occasion "Cool for Cats" is their first proper pop album and the one that established the kind of sound they'd pursue in their career: colourful pop with clever,often tongue in cheek,lyrics.
Their debut was estimulatingly scattershot but John Cale's guerrilla production values often mangled their melodic sense in a way that until"Cool for Cats" they hadn't really begun to develop their potential.
Potential which is very much fulfilled in this,their sophomore effort."Cool for Cats" is an album crammed full with exquisitely arranged pop tunes owing much to the Kinks and the Beatles.
Standout tracks include their all time best"Up the Junction"and its gorgeous cross rhymed narrative,the oh so new wave "Revue",the medievalesque "It's not Cricket",the spooky "The Knack",the fantastic "Slightly Drunk" or the driving Jools Holland sung title track.
Squeeze at their most energetic and uncompromisingly goofy and poppy.
Tezcatlipoca from Espinho,Portugal
on March 19, 2010
If (like me) you're a big enough Squeeze fan to own this album on vinyl, but not big enough to have purchased their out-of-print box set, then this CD is just right. The sound quality isn't brilliant, but it's acceptable. (As I recall, the sound of the original vinyl release wasn't stellar, either.) And you get two non-essential but pretty-good bonus tracks ("I Must Go" and "Ain't It Sad").
This is one of my favorite Squeeze albums (after Argybargy), so it's also a good place for a new Squeeze fan to start. Singles 45's and Under will get you more bang for the buck, though.