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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Cool For Cats
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on 22 May 2017
Buy it its a classic
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on 14 August 2017
Squeeze at the peak of their powers. Highly recommended.
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"Cool For Cats" is Squeeze's second studio album and finds Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford really getting into their songwriting stride, with no less than four absolutely fantastic hits on it, although this release is certainly a lot more than just the chart successes. After thoroughly playing Squeeze's "Greatest Hits" to death, I deemed them too good to simply stick with a best of and so I, about five years ago, set about buying their studio albums and "Cool For Cats" is certainly one worth investing in. Although most fans would agree that they would go on to make better albums than this one, any album that has "Cool For Cats" and "Up The Junction" on it has to be recognised as something a little bit special. It's a great place to start if you want to hear more great Squeeze songs than just the tracks which (occasionally) get played on music TV shows and the radio.

I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the version of the brilliant "Slap and Tickle" which opens this album, as it is markedly different to the one on the "Greatest Hits" compilation I owned and is slightly more light and breezy. The beautifully melodic, toe-tapping "Revue" is excellent, "Touching Me Touching You" is a brilliantly furious, catchy track (is it really about self pleasure?), "It's Not Cricket" bounces along superbly with some hilarious "Carry On"-style lyrics and "It's So Dirty" has a superb new wave Elvis Costello & The Attractions feel to it, featuring some rather seedy lyrics about pulling older, married women. Another excellent album track is "Slightly Drunk", which is a lovely Beatlesque composition that could easily have come from "Beatles For Sale" or "Help!", if it was around three-quarters of the tempo Squeeze performed it in and, well, had a slightly different subject matter.

The hits, mainly tucked away at the end of the album, are excellent. "Goodbye Girl" (slightly reminiscent of the theme from The Muppet Show) has a delightful, near-Calypso aura to it, masking the sadness of the lyrics perfectly. The undeniable classic "Cool For Cats" is almost impossible to dislike, with Chris' amusing lyrics delivered in a very geezer-ish manner, against an irresistible up-tempo beat and Jools' superb electric piano licks. "Up The Junction", in my opinion, is simply one of the greatest songs ever written. It's up there with the best compositions by Lennon & McCartney, a perfect marriage of some of Difford's greatest "ordinary life" lyrics and the most sublime melody backed by some of the most truly inspired and innovative chord & key changes Tilbrook has ever written, all nicely bundled up in a brilliant Jools Holland keyboard riff. From a whirlwind romance to a birth and a ruined relationship, all in the space of just over three minutes and delivered with passion by Glenn's gorgeous voice. It's strange how a song that sounds so joyous can easily bring tears to my eyes... a work of absolute genius. All-in-all, this album is the sound of a band firing on all cylinders, a tight, energetic musical outfit who have just progressed from writing good songs to writing truly great songs. It's a brilliant piece of work from one of the best bands this country has ever produced and comes highly recommended.
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on 9 April 2009
This was Squeeze at their pop peak, at the moment they first captured the public's imagination, 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!". This is Britpop before anybody had ever heard of the label, music that fitted perfectly alongside Madness, The Kinks, The Beatles and - many years later - 'early' Blur.

There are songs here that are unstoppably fast, some furious - Slap and Tickle, Touching Me Touching You, Hop, Skip and Jump, Cool for Cats and It's So Dirty (often overlooked, but 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 (their accidental version of the Muppets theme tune), Slightly Drunk and Up The Junction, that really stick in the imagination. This is songcraft, eccentricity and energy blended to perfection, with clever, funny, and often slightly smutty lyrics.

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.
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on 12 May 2014
The 7" disc itself was fine no issues, exact quality as advertised. However. I wasn't happy that the disc arrived in a "sleeve" other than what was shown in the advert (and likely in the icon attached to this review).

What I received was a "sleeve" that was basically black sticky tape wrapped around whatever the inner core sleeve had been. It looked naff and bore no resemblance to the advert. I wanted the original sleeve of course (as a Squeeze fan and collector) and I'm disappointed with the way the product was advertised and delivered.
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Squeeze have never had a number one hit - but "Cool for Cats" and "Up The Junction" both reached number two and are classics in their own right. This CD has them both - and the version of "Cool for Cats" is at least thirty seconds longer than the one you'll find on Greatest Hits.
Both these songs are well-known classics; but there are also a couple of gems to be found in the lesser-known songs. "That's not Cricket" and "Touching Me, Touching You" would fall into this category, although they sometimes stray a little too near eighties synthesiser music for comfort...
Although the Difford/Tilbrook partnership was clearly beginning to warm up when this album was released, there were greater songs to come - "Tempted", "Black Coffee In Bed" and "Annie Get Your Gun" spring to mind. But to hear "Up The Junction" in it's proper, early eighties context makes it all the more enjoyable. Buy the CD (great album cover, too).
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VINE VOICEon 1 May 2008
'Cool For Cats' represents Squeeze at the peak of their popularity. They had had a hit with 'Take Me I'm Yours,' but otherwise their hard, punk-angled debut was ordinary. Here, they invest their music with saucy, but intelligent humour, fun flavours and keyboard-led melodies. Of the four hits, the title track and 'Up The Junction' were the most successful. Along with 'Slap And Tickle,' their lyrics conform to repetitive rhythms with regimented precision. This isn't the case with all the songs though. 'Goodbye Girl' and 'It's So Dirty' reveal their Beatles influence. The Difford/Tilbrook partnership was always potent. Throughout the album their performances are sparky, making 'Cool For Cats,' though not quite as good as the more mature 'East Side Story,' a great pop album.
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on 10 July 2010
This album has some excellent songs showing that Squeeze have great songwriting ability. Sometimes the synth sound is a bit annoying, but that was normal in the late 70s. The bonus track Ain't it Sad is a great treat. Another great thing is the British vernacular used, if you're American the lyrics will amke no sense whatsoever! The had to change some of the words (e.g. lino) for the US release. Overall a really fun album.
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on 13 January 2016
OK. I bought It for two tracks I remember from my early years (Cool for Cats & Up the Junction) but the remaining tracks were not especialy appealing, but they may improve with further playing. Decent recording quality. Nice to play them again though. I like the overall 'feel' of the music, ie not too smooth or over-engineered in the studio: Music with balls I would say. Good stuff.
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on 27 September 2005
If you enjoyed the singles ('Goodbye Girl', 'Cool For Cats', 'Up the Junction', and 'Slap and Tickle') then you won't be disappointed. It is full of the charming melodies and tragi-comic lyrics that are the Squeeze trademark. 'Slap and Tickle' is great as an opener, with its low atmospheric synth opening that builds with the keyboard riff and drums that crescendo into the first verse with its typically whistleable melody. 'Revue' follows and confirms that Squeeze were not just a singles band, with a great heavily syncopated chorus. Songs like 'It's Not Cricket' further support this, with its riff performed on a bell, and the great chorus: 'I can't name names 'cause that's not cricket', with the band punctuating the word 'cricket'. There are also some great rock and roll numbers like 'Hop Skip and Jump'. Most pop albums pre-1985ish often suffered from a weakening in the second half due to the fact that Vinyl was the leading format and bands tended to select their best material for side A, aware that many listeners would not take the effort to turn over the record and listen to side B. However, "Cool For Cats" seemed to daringly do the opposite and the album seems to get stronger as it progresses. It features the famous singles as well as the great 'Hard to Find' and 'Slightly Drunk'. Maybe Squeeze shot themselves in the foot a little and many, finding the first side to be 'OK' did not experience of the side B and consequently Squeeze albums have been largely ignored in comparison to the single. However, it could also be argues that Squeeze were slightly ahead of their time and intuitively pre-empted at time when listeners would be used to a single continuous format (i.e., the CD), thus allowing the album to stand the test of time longer than most. Either way, the album does start well and then gets better. If you're a big fan of the Squeeze 'best of' collections but have never gone any further, maybe it's about time to start venturing into the unfamiliar material of the albums. And "Cool For Cats" seems a reasonable place to start.
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