“The B-52’s” by The B-52s - album review

TJR says

Fuelled by the underground success of their “Rock Lobster” single from last year, the Athens, Georgia-based quintet were revved up and rarin’ to go on their debut full length, which was issued in July ’79. After nearly 3 years, the original five were still together and lined up: Fred Schneider (28, vocals, cowbell, toy piano, walkie-talkie, keyboard bass); Kate Pierson (31, vocals, Farfisa organ, keyboard bass, guitar); Keith Strickland (25, percussion, drums); Cindy Wilson (22, vocals, bongos, tambourine, guitar) and Ricky Wilson (26, guitars, smoke alarm). They were a breath of fresh air – one of those bands who were so full of charm and so unique that they stole their place in your affections easily. Their vision was to kind of reinvent surf-rock in the here and now, and it was fully and excellently realised, with a charm that was kooky but nonetheless cool. The boy-girl vocal interplay was unconventional, cartoon-like even, but full of post-punk dynamics where anything goes and new ideas are to be celebrated. Side one, with only 4 tracks, is a WOW, with the classic “Planet Claire”, reinventing Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” with added morse-code electronics, the great Motown-update that is “Dance This Mess Around” and the near 7-minute epic that is “Rock Lobster”, a kind of sci-fi hava-nagila with bonkers vocalisms referencing dog-fish, cat-fish, a piranha and a narwhal. Now that’s what I call individualism; these goofballs are adorable. Side two doesn’t quite reach those heights but still boasts the fantastic “6060-842”, a toilet-scrawled number which promises a good time but only leaves disappointment for a frustrated Fred as Kate and Cindy mock in unison: “your numbers been disconnected, your numbers been disconnected”. The lame cover of Pet Clark’s “Downtown” at the very end is the only weak-point on this LP, but this cannot take away from my overall enjoyment – the album’s a blast.

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Mar-2016

A1 [04:35] 9.0.png The B-52s - Planet Claire (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Keith Strickland, Henry Mancini) New Wave
A2 [03:34] 7.2.png The B-52s - 52 Girls (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Keith Strickland, Jerry Ayers) New Wave
A3 [04:36] 7.9.png The B-52s - Dance This Mess Around (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Keith Strickland) New Wave
A4 [06:49] 9.5.png The B-52s - Rock Lobster (Fred Schneider, Ricky Wilson) New Wave
B1 [04:54] 7.4.png The B-52s - Lava (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Keith Strickland) Post-Punk
B2 [04:54] 6.2.png The B-52s - There’s A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon) (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Keith Strickland) New Wave
B3 [04:07] 5.8.png The B-52s - Hero Worship (Ricky Wilson, Robert Waldrop) Post-Punk
B4 [02:48] 8.2.png The B-52s - 6060-842 (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Keith Strickland) New Wave
B5 [02:57] 4.3.png The B-52s - Downtown (Tony Hatch) Pop




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