I like the vim and sharpness of this song. I like the vocal tricks the record uses – the “dum-ba-ba-dum” doo-wop intro is an instant hit; Lymon’s long high “why” is heart-melting. I love the way Lymon rushes the verses. But I just don’t like the song as much as it seems to like itself: it’s charming and precocious and a shot of energy after a couple of torpid chart-toppers, but when he isn’t doing tricks Lymon’s voice sounds harsh and unformed. That’s apt, of course, for a record about sticky teenage lust. If I’d been a teenager in ’56 maybe it would have blown my world apart (more likely I’d have been a bit nervous of Frankie’s rawness) – but there’s no point in my pretending to be something I’m not. “Why Do Fools?” is a record I can appreciate but I can’t adore.

Score: 6

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