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Go West (Disco Fever)

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  • Capitalizing on the success of past glories, which included "Macho Man" and "Y.M.C.A.," Village People hoped to breach those disco peaks once more. Iconographic darlings of the discotheques, the band found themselves becoming middle America's new favorites in the wake of 1978's Cruisin' LP, so it was no surprise that the release of Go West saw the band reach the Top Ten for the second time in Spring 1979. The cheekily tongue-twisted "In the Navy," which chronicled, via disco of course, all the wonderful things that particular branch of the armed forces had to offer, not only gave humorous advertisement to seamen everywhere, but probably gave their superiors at least a pause for thought, as the endorsement fluttered down in a heap of chaps and boots, Indian feathers, and cowboy hats. The song proved a massive hit, reaching number three on the pop charts. The title track, meanwhile, weighed anchor with the full-chorused exhortation to "go west" -- beckoning listeners to the beach, to the west, to the sun and spray of an unencumbered life. Innocent to its extreme, the song became a gay-club anthem and would be completely revitalized with the Pet Shop Boys' over-the-top update in 1993. Unfortunately, those two songs really are the dominant forces behind Go West. Even though Village People tried to rally with "Manhattan Woman," which contained some interesting, James Brown-inflected vocalizations, ultimately the rest of the songs on the LP sound like a rehash of the band's already released finest. The album's worthwhile, though, for the two aforementioned songs and the typically outrageous Technicolor cover. Cops and cowboys and bikers, oh my. ~ Amy Hanson
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