The album opens with “Happy New Year”- a velvet wrap-around with tasteful embellishments and jangly baubles. Imagine if VU were inspired by caffeine and chewing gum instead of the grittier muses of rock and roll- that best imparts the bright and shimmering guitars and fluid interplay of all the instrumentation in this release. “Eighties Fan”, the albums first single, brought them to the attention of John Peel who went on to select the song as the #8 single of the year for his Festive 50 list (and propelled the band into relative indie rock fame). Tracyanne pleads with the gripping heartache so representative of unripe love. She pines to her obstinate lover, “I’m gonna tell you something good about yourself/I say it now and I’ll never say it ‘bout no one else”.
“Shine Like A New Pin”, another stand-out, starts with the same opening chord progression as “Take the Skinheads Bowling”, though instead of a punk anthem it echoes the quiet wishing of the rabbity chap in homeroom. “If all your wishes in the world came true/You’d be as good as new”. Are you lonely? Isolated and misunderstood? This song speaks for all the tormented thoughts in your head. “Crestfallen and boys are boring/I don’t know which way I’m going anymore/And I can’t be sure”. A perfect musical bridge, filled with a glinting guitar solo makes this one of the strongest songs in Camera’s catalog.
At some point in a fledgling adult life, you play the role of lovelorn chump. You spend your pocket cash on Captain Jack and scratch away your heartache in a marble notebook. Regardless of it’s destructive tendencies, you pine for lost love and all of the loneliness it entails. “Pen and Notebook” sums up this shattered effect best...”You saved for a bass guitar/You know you made a mistake when you first saw Marr/With your pen and notebook you blow me away/It’s the smallest words that we can’t say/Your favorite color is that of red wine/Which brings me around to your favorite pastime”. The lyrics emote the vice grips of a relationship tainted with hurt and swallowed pride.