Vacation is to Beauty and the Beat what The Clash’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope is to The Clash: a hastily-assembled album that attempts to recreate the impact of a smashing debut. Among Go-Go’s fans, Vacation has always been unfairly maligned as the ugly stepsister to the band’s breakthrough debut. Yet, beyond its diamond title track — with “Our Lips Are Sealed,” the band’s most immortal pop confection — Vacation matches its predecessor pound for pound, even if the punk roots that were still in evidence on Beauty and the Beat have been completely smoothed over. “He’s So Strange,” “We Don’t Get Along,” and “I Think It’s Me” continue the band’s talent for inscribing the confusion of teenage romance with candy melodies, while “It’s Everything but Partytime” and “World’s Away” give voice to a darker undercurrent lying behind the group’s cheery façade. Even though rifts in the group were starting to grow, “Beatnik Beach,” “Cool Jerk” and the Jane Wiedlin-led “Girl of 100 Lists” show that the Go-Go’s were still the snappiest, smartest band in the New Wave class.

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