Get it?

Normal as the Next Guy (Image Entertainment)

The Knack

By Kevin Gibson

When "My Sharona" was No. 1, most people either "got" the Knack or didn't. If you're among the latter, you can stop reading now. If you're one of the former, or just someone who appreciates a good hook, you should check out this CD.

While a couple of the songs are self-plagiaristic -- the title track, for instance, reworks the 1991 Knack tune "I Want Love" and the band inexplicably covers itself with "One Step at a Time" -- cuts like "Les Girls" and "Seven Days in Heaven" are instant Knack classics. Still, while those two cuts are classic in the sense that they are about a) girls and/or b) love, the Knack stretches out on Normal like never before.

"Spiritual Pursuit" is a tongue-in-cheek confessional about the hazards of taking the Lord's high road, "A World of My Own" is a first-person view of social isolation, and "It's Not Me" is a first-person warning from frontman Doug Fieger that the sunny exterior those around him may be accustomed to is not necessarily reality. One of the most difficult things to do in music is write a pop love song that doesn't come off as sappy and sentimental; "Disillusion Town" finds that elusive middle ground effectively. That's the mark of a seasoned songwriter.

These songs serve to remind us again there's more to the Knack than just catchy rave-ups about hot chicks. No, this album won't go gold, but it is the most cohesive thing the Knack has released in 20 years. Coming from someone who "got it" in the first place, that's pretty high praise.