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Released: October 1984

Rating: 4.250 (average of 4 ratings)

Genre: alternative rock

Quotable: “possibly the defining album of the whole U.K. indie jangle scene.” – Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Perfect Skin
  2. Speedboat
  3. Rattlesnakes
  4. Down on Mission Street
  5. Forest Fire
  6. Charlotte Street
  7. 2cv
  8. Four Flights Up
  9. Patience
  10. Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart 13

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Perfect Skin (5/26/84) #26 UK
  • Forest Fire (8/25/84) #41 UK
  • Rattlesnakes (11/17/84) #65 UK

Notes: “The German CD of Rattlesnakes (Polydor 823 683) will be of interest to North American Commotions fans. The disc not only contains the original versions of three songs Geffen had Ric Ocasek remix for the U.S. release (which are also on the Capitol reissue); it also features a unique version of ‘Forest Fire’ with the guitar solo coda extended by nearly 40 seconds and four B-sides from British singles of the period: ‘Sweetness,’ the wry Warhol superstars portrait ‘Andy’s Babies,’ ‘The Sea and the Sand,’ and the phenomenal ‘You Will Never Be No Good.’” SM


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. Mojo Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums NME Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
“One of the finest debuts of the ‘80s, and possibly the defining album of the whole U.K. indie jangle scene that also included Prefab Sprout, Aztec Camera, and dozens of other bands, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions’ Rattlesnakes is a college rock masterpiece of smart, ironic lyrics and sympathetic folk-rock-based melodies.” SM

Rattlesnakes consists of ten perfect, or close to it, pop songs in just a hair under 36 minutes.” SM “The Glasgow-based band (Lloyd Cole on guitar and vocals, Neil Clark on lead guitar, Blair Cowan on keyboards, Lawrence Donegan on bass, and Stephen Irvine on drums) has a level of interplay remarkable in a group that had been playing for less than two years, and for all the attention given to Cole’s hyper-literate lyrics, the album’s finest moments are things like the slinky interludes between the wry verses on the Renata Adler-inspired Speedboat and Clark’s glorious extended solo at the end of the album's finest song, Forest Fire.” SM

“Kicking off with the group’s first U.K. single, the impossibly wordy, stream-of-consciousness Perfect Skin, the album is basically a series of verbal snapshots of love gone wrong among the overeducated and underemployed. Cole’s low-pitched and surprisingly soulful – for a philosophy student from the University of Glasgow, anyway – voice flits between earnestness, compassion, and arch derision (‘Must you tell me all your secrets when it’s hard enough to love you knowing nothing?’), while his lyrics sketch incisive character studies filled with smart and funny one-liners, near-obsessive name-dropping, and references to enough novels and movies for a semester-long pop culture class. The title track, for example, is based on a key image from Joan Didion’s stark Hollywood novel Play It as It Lays, and its chorus compares the song’s heroine to Eva Marie Saint’s character in the film On the Waterfront. In less skilled hands, this would all be unbearably pretentious, but Cole’s sly sense of humor and self-mocking wit keep things on the right side of ambitious.” SM

Review Source(s):

Last updated March 29, 2010.