Josie Cotton is a classic example of an artist whose entire career is overshadowed by one song. This album's hit, the in-dubious-taste "Johnny Are You Queer?," was such a controversial song at the time of its 1982 release that the rest of this fine album was overlooked in the brouhaha. That's a shame, because Convertible Music is a classic of the whole California girly pop scene of the early '80s, on a level with the Go Go's' Beauty and the Beat, Bonnie Hayes' Good Clean Fun, and the first Bangles EP. The songs, mostly either by Cotton herself or her producers, Bobby and Larson Paine, are neat '60s pastiches with elements of surf (the glorious opener, "He Could Be the One"), Shangri-Las-style melodrama (the sultry "I Need the Night Tonight"), and Farfisa-driven swoony pop bliss ("Rockin' Love," "So Close"). Cotton's voice, which can switch from a bratty whine to a sexy purr from one line to the next, is perfect for this kind of disposable pop, and the production, though a tiny bit slick at times, is sympathetic to the unapologetic good times on display. Convertible Music is one of the most perfectly named albums ever; this is the sort of music that sounds best with the top down on the way to the beach. -AMG
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