The B-52's

The most popular band to ever hail from Athens, GA!

No wait, Pylon

*special introductory paragraph!
*The B-52's
*Wild Planet
*Mesopotamia EP
*Bouncing Off The Satellites
*Cosmic Thing
*Good Stuff
*(Rich Bunnell reviews) Time Capsule: Songs For A Future Generation
Like X, The B-52's started off their career as a fascinating - heck, darn near ENJOYABLE - combination of a whole slew of different genres of music. The 2's (slang term for "B-52's" that I just made up; my aim was never to confuse you) mixed 60s surf guitar and weird go-go women with late '70s style ironic new wave (and snatches of pop and hard rock too!) in a really wicked creative manner that ROCKED up the new wave while taking surf music much farther than any of today's traditional Venture-wannabes have bothered (probably only Dead Kennedys have taken that twangy surf guitar sound in a more fucked up direction, unless you count all those bands I've never heard - by the way, while we're on the subject, I'd like to officially apologize for any time in my reviews when I might have said something like "this is undoubtedly one of the best metal albums ever recorded" or something like that. Who the hell am I, no no, who the hell is ANY asshole critic to suggest that he is so familiar with every album ever recorded that he can honestly make such a stupid, conceited statement? Again, I apologize. I was a young man when I began this site. A boy, some might say. But I've grown, sir. Into a neurotic young man who wishes someone would send him lots of free money.).

So it was COOL, man! Dancey folk could wig out to it, rock guys could dig the guitar lines, and poppy fans could enjoy the fun-fun-fun dichotomy of punkish wailing female vox and an extremely homosexual-sounding man just sort of saying things in a very deliberate manner - just like Jello Biafra! Unfortunately, like X, The B-52's over time became more and more conservative (especially after the tragic death of guitarist Ricky Wilson) until they sounded pretty much like everydamnbody else. Simplistic keyboard-heavy dance pop music. "Love Shack." Whoopee-doo. Fun, sure, but what are us rock fans supposed to do now? Ooh! I know! We could go listen to the Chemical Brothers' Dig Your Own Hole, undoubtedly the most innovative electronica album ever released!

* The B-52's - Warner Bros. 1979. *
Rating = 10

Great record. And by "great," I mean "I've enjoyed it all four times I've listened to it." Isn't it time for a little honesty around here? Sure it is! We're tearing ourselves apart! Four times is enough, though. If an album isn't truly great, its false first impression wears off after a couple of listens. This first impression still hasn't worn off. And I've spent over THREE HOURS with the record!

Nosy neighbor (as portrayed by Bob Newhart): "Three hours? Wow. That... well, that.... that's like, well, that's like... th... that's like..."

What's really cool about this piece of Americana is that this particular conglomeration of musics had just never been done before (had it? If so, tell me!). You can hear surf guitar lines straight from the early '60s (including a blatant rip-off of the Peter Gunn theme in track one!), Petty-esque distorted hard rock axework, cold and emotionless electronics, punk energy, the charming and unpredictable vocal interplay of THREE different nutbags with over-the-top vocal deliveries, and hoppin' dance beats - all produced raw and ready, with tons of great hooks and veritable washing machines full of energy. I know these guys kinda get the Athens buttshaft a lot, but for pure entertainment value, this LP ranks up there with almost any of REM's albums (Life's Rich Pageant is better, for sure, but aside from that one....). Have you heard "Rock Lobster," for Pete Buck's sake? It's just too bad they couldn't carry it out over a whole career like that smelly pretentious jackass singer and his extremely talented band REM.

Just try to open your mind, that's all I'm asking. I certainly never would have dreamt that I'd enjoy a B-52's album, but I was wronger than a schlebonger. See, all the beats are bouncy and upbeat, but the gritty guitars never fail to add an unexpected dark undercurrent of intrigue, even to tracks as harmless on the surface as "There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)." In conclusion, let's just say that this album puts the "spy" back in "Danspyop."

Ah, hell, you're not falling for that spelling, are you? Okay, how about it puts the "cock" back in "Hitchcock"?

No? Dammit. Foiled again!

The "marijuana" back in "Dwight Eisenhower"?

Reader Comments (Rich Bunnell)
I really like this album, the entire thing's like a huge 1979 punk party, especially the first 4 tracks. Each of the songs has some redeeming quality, and while it's not my favorite, it's really memorable. 8/10 (Ross Dickinson)
This isn't a bad album or anything, but it's definately not my favorite. The songs don't really stick out to me, but "Planet Clair", "Hero Worship", and the rest are still good songs. I'll give it a 6 (John)
"The '2's" is a good nickname for these guys (and gals). When I am feeling especially clever, I refer to them as "The Beefs."

And if there's not already a band named "The Beefs," there should be. (Elliot Imes)
Crap, I love this cd. So does my 40-year old art teacher! The entire album is just one big punked up dance party, and I can't get enough of it. Some people just don't understand why I think "Rock Lobster" is one of the best songs I've ever heard, and it is then that I have to smack that person. To echo Mark, however, I just really wish that they could have kept it up as opposed to going straight to the pits of hell with shit like "Summer Of Love." Sigh.
What can I say??

An execeptional piece of work for it's time. I grew up in Marietta, Georgia and between Atlanta and Athens, The colleges provided a lot of alternative inspiration for musicians and listeners alike. Nowhere else in the south were you likely to have such a large concentration of, let's say Todd Rundgren or Frank Zappa fans as these two cities around the seventies era. And the non- commercial progressive formats of the college radio stations lent to that. I think the B-52's not only capitalised on that point in time, but they also added thier own twist of pop mayhem to the mix. It was most likely the very beginning of alternative music as we know it today.
The b52's has to be in my humble opinion the most fun album of all time, most of the songs are really hooky and danceable (in a good surf/funk way not a boring techno way). I also love the lyrics whimsy and campy appeal my personal favorite track is "rock lobster," I have a question to the world am I the only person who thinks that the lead woman's voice sounds like Patti smith?

8/10 (Devin Lawrence)
Campy fun, from the toy piano and the walkie-talkie to Ricky's guitar with only the two lowest strings tuned down - a neat little textural trick which wasn't reprised until Presidents of the U.S.A came around in the '90s, by my estimation.

By the way, the link asked me to "Add your thoughts?", so I did, and I came up with 37.262...
The 2's were so crafty with so little at this point (Had they played instruments before? I have to doubt it. Except for Ricky Wilson and I'm not just saying that 'cos he's dead) that I wouldn't hesitate to call it subversive if it weren't so damn stupid. Maybe it's all the more dangerous as a result. I don't know. I know the people in the adjacent cubicles here on the 20th floor get seriously confused when I follow up Naked City "Torture Garden" with this disc, but they shouldn't - what do they know about partying or anything else? Anyway I was surprised at how well I took to this album after picking it up on a chance for $3. By the way in case you care: you can find faster, punkier versions of "52 Girls" and "Rock Lobster" on their independently released debut 45. I picked one up on e-bay for about $10.
Aww man...this album is an unimpeachable classic from the post-punk era. Wild, danceable & distinctively american, this album is what rock-n-roll is all about! Unlike most post-punk bands of the era, there's no arty pretensions here. No sir! Just four southern boy & girls (and a gay man) makin guileless party music. Its funny that if a contemporary band attempts this 60's schtick, they'll be relegated to the novelty/garage revival ghetto. But the B-52s transcend all that. Those were different times indeed. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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Wild Planet - Warner Bros. 1980.
Rating = 8

Very similar to the first one, and nearly as good. The main difference on this one is that the dark shattered underbelly of the American dream is creeping away, replaced by the moody sorrow and high-speed goodtimes of tunes like "Dirty Back Road," "Give Me Back My Man" and "Strobe Light" (three fantastic songs). Get it? Less surf and spy, more Nerf and cry. (I wrote that "clever" turn of phrase about a week ago, and looking back at it now, I am genuinely getting the urge to remove my own teeth with a pair of scissors.) Also, a few of these songs are distinctly lacking in energy somehow; "Quiche Lorraine," for example, absolutely DRAGS. But they're still doing their own thing, and it still sounds really good - in places, even better, what with some gorgeous female vocals bringing in a hint of aural beauty (especially in "Dirty Back Road," which would be even cooler if it had some of those between-line "uh!"s like Danzig's "Dirty Black Summer," which has a similar title) where none much existed before. This is the end of the creative road, though, unfortunately. After this record, they retreated.

Say, here's something interesting - every time I review a new band, I just take an old band review, do a "save as," and fill in the new information. That way, I don't have to keep rewriting all the HTML crap. So anyway, you know those bits at the top where you click on the album title and it takes you directly to the review? That's done with a little tag word. So about a week ago, I decided to review Circle Jerks. At random, I pulled up my X reviews to do a "save as" and was delighted to discover that the two bands had second albums entitled Wild Gift and Wild In The Streets. Ha! So I could keep the tagword "wild"! Ha! Neat coincidence, I thought. So the next night I started writing up the B-52's. Pulled up Circle Jerks at random, and whammo - Wild Planet. Three bands in a row, all with a second album whose first word in "wild." Isn't that "wild"? Don't you expect to see a pair of boobs like in Blockbuster's "Wild comedies" section? Huh? Don't you?


Reader Comments (Douglas Swalen)
This is the one B52's album I own, and will probably ever own (I already have "Rock Lobster" on a comp CD). The draw for me on this album is "Strobe Light". The lyrics are nothing new to a guy raised on overactive-libido-infused AC/DC. But the riffs are a nifty blend of punk and surf music. No comment on "My Own Private Idaho"? I'd get an argument but I consider this song and not "Rock Lobster" to be their signature song. Hard to believe that this is the same band that did a cover of the Flintstones theme song....
I guess I really have come full circle to my high school days. I'm now buying all the tunes I labeled as crap when I was a young metalhead. Time broadens your horizons I guess....
 The Ventures? Pffft. Dick Dale! (Rich Bunnell)
In my opinion this one is better than their debut, but that's cause "Private Idaho" is so darn catchy, and I like all of the dark songs. "Party Out Of Bounds," "Dirty Back Road," all of them really nice. And yes, "Quiche Lorraine" drags, but at least it has the B-52's signature weirdness to it. 9/10 (Ross Dickinson)
I like this album alot better than the first. "Party Out Of Bounds," "Private Idaho," and "Quiche Lorraine" are really great songs. So are the others, but these noticably stick out to me. I give it an 8
I liked the 52's since I was a kid and I really annoy my brother because of it! I wanted to meet them and the singer fred is so wacked out! he must come from bizzaro world! cindy and kate are awsome back ups with odd voclas! private idaho is a hoot! and party out of bounds! I am not ashamed to admit it but I loved it kate is so beautiful either her hair or the vocals! I wished those guys would come back!

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Mesopotamia EP - Warner Bros. 1982.
Rating = 2

Did I mention their image yet? They dressed very colorfully, and the two women (Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson) had big ol' crazy beehive hairdos. Did I mention that this record fucking sucks yet? David Byrne produced it, and brought to the table all the pretentious seriousness that made his own work idiosyncratic, and made The B-52's work sound completely dull and unlike The B-52's. Who knows? Maybe they were heading this way anyway (heavy on the keyboards, light on the fun) and David just helped them along. Whatever the order of events, these songs just aren't that good. What happened to the rough fun of the first two? Who needs "art," for Larry Hagman's sake? Not I, Mark Prindle. Van Gogh? I don't need it! Picasso? Don't need it! Degas? Don't need it! Da Vinci? Don't need it!

Warhol? Don't need it!

Reader Comments (Rich Bunnell)
I don't HAVE the album, but I just wanna say how good the title track is, since it's on their Time Capsule CD. At least THIS David Byrne experiment worked. (Ross Dickinson)
I do NOT get how you can't like this album/ep whatever it should be called! The songs on Mesopotamia might sound different from their earlier albums and their newer albums, but it's still fun to listen to. "Loveland," "Cake," and "Nip It In The Bud" are all really cool songs! 9
I think you just have to approach Mesopotamia in a different way than the first two albums, how many albums could they make just like the first two before you got tired of it? I think "Cake" is one of their best songs. (Douglas Hall)
It's one of the best B-52 releases. Mesopotamia is a hypnotic, rhythmically fascinating track. Loveland and Cake are good too. I don't know where the two star rating comes from - this should receive at least six.
I love Mesopotamia! I have always regarded it as just another great B-52's release. I never even considered that it sounded that much different from anything they had done in the past. "Cake" and "Nip It In the Bud" have always been one of my favorite songs. Besides I think the title track "Mesopotamia" is one of their most fun songs to sing-along with. The only thing that David Byrne's Production added to the sound was that the production sounded like most of the new wave releases that came out in 1983. All in all is still the B-52's. Anyone wanting a copy of the CD should run out and buy the Party Mix CD that is where Warner Brothers stuck the Mesopotamia EP. Buy it at your local record store or online. has it on sale for $9.99! How can you resist!
This evening has turned out to be one of those drink too much and drag out boxes of photos and vinyl, of which I have "truck loads" of both! I happened upon this site during a crazed online search for a re-mixed version of "Cake" that I've only heard a couple of times. I heard it the first time about 8-9 years ago while riding around with a really good friend of mine, God rest his wild, partying soul! Michael K. had a cassette that we would rock out to every Saturday night while driving into Houston on our way to our favorite dance club. It was about a 20 minute drive so we could listen to one side of the tape going and the other driving back home. If anyone has a clue what I'm talking about I would really love to know more about it so I can try to get my hands on another copy of this music. You see, Michael introduced me to the b-52's in the mid 80's when we first met. He was probably truly their biggest fan! (Second only to Blondie of course!) The boy could listen to Kate & Cindy pretty much 24/7 and I am not exaggerating one bit. If you don't believe me you can just ask our sidekicks Angie & Valerie! Both Michael and myself are from Little Rock so it is a miracle we knew of this Athens Georgia bunch! We miss our good friend Michael so much....I can't help think of him when I hear the 2's and visa versa! Sorry for the lengthy, sappy message. I guess it's the cocktails talking.....

Thanks Guys and Gals!

Larry P
Houston, Texas
July 2, 2005
well for me Mesopotamia is the ONLY good lp they made AFTER the first one.

all the others are just BAD.

Wild planet get no interest, all the songs are just copies of the first lp with a more synthetic touch,Whammy got just few good moments and Boucing off the Satellites is completly crap.

Even if Mesopotamia has a special sound compared to other ones(even more synthetic) i think the songs are pretty good and catchy and David Byrne doesn't try to make the band sounded as they already been..
Like a few of your other readers, I too am baffled by the ridiculously low score you gave this. Sure, it's not as fun or memorable (for the most past) than the first two LPs but two stars?! You gave Good Stuff more! Now that's a crummy record! This one has what is, in my opinion, their greatest ever song (the title track). That alone should give it at least 5. The rest is pretty enjoyable too, especially the last few tracks.

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Whammy! - Warner Bros. 1983.
Rating = 7

Had this come directly after Wild Planet, it would have felt like quite the letdown, relying on pre-programmed drums and bass to an unparalleled degree, but with the cruddy Messobullameia in its wake, it sounds A-OK! At least the fun is back, even if that special B-52's vibe is history. There's still some guitar on here, but it's almost unnoticeable - basically treated like a rhythm instrument in a sound dominated by voices and keyboards. Lots of the songs are still catchy as a baseball or hockey glove, though, and I guess that's the important thing. Personally, I get a major league thrill out of the hits "Legal Tender" and "Song For A Future Generation," but I may be the only person in the world who feels that way. My girlfriend, for example, despises both songs. A few minutes ago, in fact, she called "Legal Tender" a "stupid, useless song" and remarked that the keyboard line (which I love) sounds to her like somebody stepping on a sea urchin. Sigh.

So this is the sound of modern-day B-52's. Basically straight pop music topped with distinct vocals, it's obviously much less impressive than the early stuff, but still fun, if you like fun at all.

Note to educators - Please don't use that last sentence as an example of "writing that doesn't sound like absolute shit."

Reader Comments (Rich Bunnell)
You know that things are bad when they're using a drum machine when they have a DRUMMER. This is probably my least favorite of their albums, since all of the songs are so darn cheesy. "Legal Tender" is okay, but the lyrics and tune of "Song For A Future Generation" just make me cringe. Gotta love the remake of "There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)" from the original album, though. 6/10

(a few months later)

I gave this piece of crap an above-average grade? This has got to be one album that just gets worse over time; whenever I listen to it to reappraise it, it just seems more idiotic and banal than on the last listen and I don't feel like listening to it ever again. "Legal Tender" is okay in a cheesy way (and it's the only one the band didn't write), but everything else goes absolutely nowhere-- how could they go from Wild Planet to this?!? I change my grade to a 2.
I give this one a 6. Let me say, first of all, "Legal Tender" is the only lasting 52's classic, and the ONLY thing here that comes near to touching anything off the first two albums. But I do enjoy the rest of the first side songs--including the annoying "Song for a Future Generation", the even more annoying "Butterbean", and the not only annoying but virtually tone-deaf "Whammy Kiss", all of which sound more like "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" than "Give Me Back My Man" or "Planet Claire"--on a VERY marginal, brain-dead level (hows THAT for an underhanded complement?). The second side, however, takes a noise dive, and I really can't see the raison d'etre for any of the songs. The "remake" of (what? two lines of) "There's a Moon in the Sky Called the Moon" is I guess here to show how far the B-52's sound had come, collective groan. By the way, any enjoyment of anything on this album is mostly musical--the jokes here are starting to get REALLY unfunny.
Bet you haven't gotten a comment on this review in, oh, ten years! I listened to this again the other day, and I'm torn between giving it a 6 or a 7. Part of this is my resentment of them for moving away from the super-cool guitarwork on the first album, and giving way to New Wave bullshit like "Whammy Kiss." And why does that song need to be five and a half damn minutes long?? Ugh, they had no idea how to edit themselves at this point.

BUT, "Legal Tender" and "Song for a Future Generation" stand out as the obvious hits for good reason. And while they forgot how to have neat guitar stuff going on, they didn't forget how to be tongue in cheek stupid, with "Butterbean" and "Big Bird" dumbing the place up with style. And how bout that vocal production on "Butterbean," especially Fred's voice? Sounds evil!

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Bouncing Off The Satellites - Warner Bros. 1986.
Rating = 6

This was around the time that Ricky passed away. I'm not sure whether he played on this record or not, but I know he co-wrote some of the songs. Either way, there ain't guitar for shick, a delightful brand of shaving razor available at your local grocery! That which is here does NOTHING, and way too many of the songs sound like anypopband, USA - Cyndi Lauper, Madonna - that kinda padiddly. Totally keyboard. Totally faceless pop. Its only saving grace is that a lot of melodies will still get stuck in your head. God, what the hell happened, dammit? This is NOTHING like their first two records! How quickly they degenerated from an exciting amalgamation of the history of rock and pop music into.... generic pop music '86. Disappointing. Very, very disappointing. As far as I know, there were no hits off of this one. "Summer Of Love," maybe? Now there's a "stupid, useless song."

You want another one? Anything the Eagles ever recorded. Including the brilliant, autobiographical "Witchy Woman."

Reader Comments (Rich Bunnell)
Everyone hates this album since it's so disjointed, and always blame it on the death of Ricky Wilson. I guess I should point out that he died AFTER most of the album's recording sessions. I think it's really decent, though -- "Aint It A Shame" and "Summer Of Love" are downright classics, even though they don't sound B-52ish. 7.5/10 (Ross Dickinson)
It's different from the other albums, but the songs are cool. The production of them all sound the same though. 7 (Shon Cope)
Bouncing Off The Satellites is, in my opinion, the best album done by the band for the simple fact that it's the one album that they poured their heart into after Ricky passed on, instead of shelving the project like they originally intended to.

Good songs, good riffs and all B's... I love this disk.

What? No mention of 'Wig'?? Sure the album is really bland and I can't really recall any specific tune right now apart from 'Summer of Love', which I guess is relatively enjoyable during a summer (duh!) BBQ or something. But 'Wig' is downright essential, the accoustic guitar frenzy, the absurd catcalls - The sound is pretty similar to what Basement Jaxx did much later with 'Rendez vous'

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Cosmic Thing - Warner Bros. 1989.
Rating = 6

The "comeback." Only commercially, though. This is no less uneven than the last one, packed full of cheesy keyboards and predictable vocals. It's not all bad, though. These songs seem to be split evenly between "empty dance tunes" and "pop songs with really solid melodies". "Love Shack" would be the former, "Roam" the latter, "Geraldine's Bronze Poophole" a funny song title I just made up. Personally, I could use a few more "solid melodies," but I guess it's the dance tunes that sold the most units, so whatever. Was "Deadbeat Club" a hit? That's a fantastic song. Gorgeous female vox. The last couple tunes are great too. But "Love Shack"? Man, I hate that crap. It's not even very FUN! Aside from the distinctive vocals (a B-52's mainstay), most of this music could have been recorded by any worthless batch of anonymous studio musicians, and probably was. Woe is us! What happened to that lil' Athens combo we used to know and love? Aye! They all grew up and went lousier!
Reader Comments (Rich Bunnell)
I've heard "Love Shack" at least 5 million times, and I can't stand it anymore; the tune is good but it doesn't go anywhere and the "bang bang on the door" part at the end is really pointless. Still, the rest of the album is better than it, "Deadbeat Club," "Roam," "Channel Z," "Junebug," etc. The only other downer on the album besides "Love Shack" is the stupid title track. "SHAKE YOUR HONEY BUNS!" It's so STUPID! 8/10 (Ross Dickinson)
Good CD here. The song "Cosmic Thing" comes off rather awkward to me, but the rest of the album doesn't. "Channel Z" and "Topaz" are some of the cooler songs on the album, and everyone can't forget "Love Shack" and possibly "Roam" 8 (Elliot Imes)
Hmm. Well, I suppose there isn't a whole lot more to this album other than the four songs on Time Capsule. The two exceptions are the title track (I disagree with Metal Man, I love that song!) and "Junebug", which is just a really cool song to me. And I honestly believe that anyone who actually likes the B-52's has got to like "Love Shack". How can you not? It's such a fun song! One song off this that really grew on me over time was "Deadbeat Club", cuz it's just so pretty. And "Channel Z" is hilarious! I love the part when Fred says, "Narrow minds, space junk, BOMBS!!!" However, the one song that really pisses me off here is "Dry County". Oh god, that's annoying!!! Regardless, I dig the B-52's and this is a cool album. 8/10.
This song is still rockin...I can still remember the day my gal pals and I busted open our copy of the album, it was so cool. I still have the sounds blazed in my brain from the day that some "punks" took over the loud speaker at Fairfax High School (Hollywood, CA) and blasted Love Shack for all to enjoy....a fine treat for a day filled with calculus and other non-essential life the music blasted over the voices of our teachers, it was like we all knew that someday we would have no use for calculus, but we would always have use for "the shack", which proved to be so true...this weekend I went to an engagement party and danced to the awesomeness of love shack with my 10 year old daughter as I watched these 20 year old kids enjoying love shack with the same reckless zest that I did 20 years that's a classic!
Cosmic Thing wasn't all that bad. I thought it was really good. Songs like "Topaz," "Deadbeat Club," and "Junebug" were the ones that got stuck in my head for being so damn cool. I was annoyed with "Love Shack." You hear that song on the radio, at dances, at weddings, its just getting OLD! Derr, I know its already old, but If I didn't have to hear it every where I went then maybe I didn't have to get so sick of it. I was disappointed to see that their old cheesy tunes were no longer apart of them. Its like they grown out of Mesopotamia and Rock Lobster and all those other songs. Then they totally went lame with "Roam." Omigosh why did you guys do that to your fans! You were doing so good! And now......bah. Oh well.
If you're unfamiliar with the adjective 'philistine' then you probably fall into that very category. Cosmic Thing was where the B52's came of age and those that didn't then get the heady -and very likely unhealthy- combination of inspiration, cheese, irony and downright mastery that were the component elements of 'Cosmic Thing', most likely haven't got it now. If there was any justice in this sad old place, then 'Cosmic Thing' should have been their coda and they should have beamed back aboard their flying saucer to the strains of 'Topaz' and 'Follow Your Bliss'.

But instead, what was to be their fate? 'The Flintstones'. The horror, the horror. (Simon Burgess)
Love Shack rocks! It's the reason I'm on this page reading about the band! That song is so cool, I've always thought so. It's like Lady Marmalade or Vogue - one of those really groovy good-time songs that always gets on the radio but you never actually care who it's by. Think I might buy a B-52's album now though.
Well, yeah, I agree with you Mark. "Love Shack" is not really....... well, I just don't see what some see in it. "Roam" though? That's gotta be one of the greatest pop songs of the 80's!

L.T. Josserand
I have to agree with Matthew Byrd’s comment when he says that “Roam” is one of the greatest pop songs of the 1980’s. It’s a great pop melody with a certain majesty, as perhaps the last B-52 collaboration involving Cindy Wilson. The songs’ lyrics also seem to contain a nostalgic reference to one of the B-52’s early songs with sexual innuendo and word play, “Dirty Back Roads”, as in “Oh girl dancing down those dirty and dusty trails”. And the chorus phrase “Take it hip to hip rocking through the wilderness” is a clever allusion to the classic human physical position for love. I think “Roam” is about spiritual liberation and flights of imagination fueled by romantic passion and sexual bliss. The bands’ charming female vocal duo is less eccentric than in the old days, but on “Roam” they soar and harmonize one last time with great vocal power and a mature confidence.


I seem to recall a major American Telephone company using this song in a TV advertising campaigns for their latest Cell Phone “Roaming” Plan. I will prefer to think that this was an after-the-fact marketing deal agreed to by the “suits” who handle the business end of the B-52’s - rather than a pre-planned gimmick involving the band members/songwriters. It’s a great song either way, I just prefer to believe the artistic integrity version ;-)

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Good Stuff - Warner Bros. 1992.
Rating = 5

This CD is lacking Cindy Wilson. Down to three '2s. It's more pop-oriented than the last one, but sadly the melodies aren't up to par. Several of them try to do a dreamy meditation hypnosis type vibe, but they're mostly just booooooorrrrrring! It's got a couple winners ("Revolution Earth" is beautiful), but the schtick has gotten old. Nobody cares anymore. Maybe they should have called it a day when Ricky passed away. He was the one with the cool guitar style; the guitarwork on this is just bland. It's not a BAD album, mind you. It still sounds like The B-52's, who still don't completely sound like anybody else (because of the vocals). It's just not worth buying when there are so many other B-52's albums that are similar but a bit more consistent.

Since it's been six years since this album came out, I'm going to go out on a limb in my front yard and piss on cars.

Reader Comments (Animal)
I'll throw something in here, since no one but you and I seem interested in the B-52's.

Yer fears about the B-52's degeneration might have revolved around the fact that pretty much the best thing Kate did after that whole Warhol thing was to appear on an REM album!?!?

Something to check out... Fred Schneider & the Shake Society from 1982 or thereabouts. There's a delightful little gem on there entitled "Monster in My Pocket," now THAT'S entertainment. (Rich Bunnell)
"Revolution Earth" is great, the title track has stupid verses but an awesome chorus, "Bad Influence" would be better if Fred Schneider didn't try to be so political, and the rest of the album is decent, even if it tries to be a little too spiritual for it's own good. And honestly, a song dedicated to HOT PANTS? Give me a break! Still, I like this album more than most people do. Probably cause I got it for $4.99. 7/10 (Ross Dickinson)
I LOVE this album! "Bad Influence" is such a cool song, not just because it has a cool tune, but the song has some serious meaning to it unlike their other songs(not that those are bad or anything, they don't really HAVE any sucky songs). "Good Stuff," "Hot Pants Explosion," and "Revolution Earth" are just some of the cool songs that are on this album! 9
Don't know, don't care, but they were in One Trick Pony as a joke. (Charles Carlino)
I like the CD, but then again, I found it in a cutout bin for $2. Can't beat that, right? (Elliot Imes)
Disappointing. I checked it out from my local library, and I was just disappointed. The only worthwhile songs on here are "Good Stuff" and "Is That You Mo-Dean?", and maybe "Tell It Like It T-I-Is". But the other songs! Dear god! So boring! Why do these songs have to last so goddamn long??? And the one about hot pants! Stupid, stupid stupid! If only they could go back to the days of stuff like "Rock Lobster" and "Planet Claire". Now that was pimpin shit!
Good stuff was okay. I think "Is that you Mo-Dean" is hilarious. I mean, hey, where else are you gonna get an album with a song about aliens and space ships?
This is really disappointing, and the cover art really makes me cringe. Hot Pants Explosion is so damn stupid! How did they go from Cosmic Thing to this? I know, Cindy left!

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(Rich Bunnell Reviews) Time Capsule: Songs For A Future Generation -- Reprise 1998.
Rating = 9

When mediocre albums like Crappy!, Bleching At The Crappelites and Turgid Crap have been released by this band, a hits collection is absolutely necessary-- luckily, after years of mediocre ignored compilations which felt it necessary to include songs like "Wig" for some reason, now we have this one!

The choices are primo, the mix of "Summer Of Love" is better than the wannabe-spiritual album version, and "Mesopotamia," despite Mark's rather merciless bashing of the EP of the same name, is great. Really well-done overlapping vocals. Produced by David Byrne too, a status which makes it worth your money automatically-- well, sort of. I mean, this IS the same Byrne who was responsible for True Stories and Naked, so he can't be entirely faultless, now can he?

Back to the B's. My only problems with this compilation are that "Give Me Back My Man" is inexplicably excluded, and the cheesy wuss-fest "Song For A Future Generation" from the cheesy wuss-fest album Whammy! is not only included, but incorporated into the frickin' title! Plus, as much as I love "Quiche Lorraine," is it really necessary here? I mean, it's a bit too trancy and uncommercial to be included on a compilation meant to win the band new fans.

Long analyses can't be lent to hits compilations, so I'll end it here. A good B's buy if you don't want to venture past their early work (actually a good idea), plus the new songs "Debbie" and "Hallucinating Pluto" are harmless fun, particularly the former, a guitar rocker dedicated to everyone's favorite Blondie headmistress. So, now that the band's back together, WHEN CAN WE EXPECT A NEW FREAKIN' ALBUM?

Reader Comments
Time Capsule introduced me to The B-52's before & after Cosmic Thing and I must say that I love both bands! One is the quirky, hilarious, and irrepressably joyful group which made "Strobe Light" so much fun. The latter version of the band actually makes better music. It's slick and beautiful and well-produced, yet still lots of fun! Either way, I can't help but feel good when I listen to the B-52's! If any B-52's hear this, PLEASE MAKE MORE MUSIC!!! And Kate, I love you desperately even though I'm gay.
PLEASE MAKE MORE MUSIK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Stella Corona)
I enjoyed your site with the comments on the B-52s. I've begun listening to them again for fun, by again I mean I first saw them on Sat Night Live. My friend and I didn't know what the hell we were looking at but we bought that 1st LP and played the heck out of it. Now, years later, I gag when the radio plays "Good Stuff" and "Love Shack." The only thing worse was the pretentious "Shiny Crappy People." From the people who gave us "Planet Claire" we get a Cartoon Network jingle as well. Also, anyone else like a band's music but find the musicians themselves irritiating as hell? I always liked Cindy (why'd she leave for a bit anyway?) but Kate...I doubt we'll see a new LP since she's ballooned to a good 200 lbs or so by last report. As vain and pompous as she put on I doubt she'll appear in any videos. But I guess if they did a new set of songs I'd give it a listen, though it's be more political paranoid statements and less aliens/dance music.

Thanks for the site! (Jesse Krakow)
Hey, I just wanted to add something to the B-52's fan message board.

I don't know if it's a rumor or if it's in fact true, but I heard that Kate just finished working on a record by NYC-based Time of Orchids and that the album is now out. I read a post on another B's site like a year ago that said the same thing, and now I'm hearing it again, so I don't know what the story is. Anybody else hear about this? I really hope it's true, 'cause I miss Kate so much. It's time for her return!

This really is a great CD. I saw the B-52's in NYC's Central Park in 1980 with the Talking Heads. What a show! So... 23 years later, I enjoy listening to this CD with my 7 year old daughter. Fun songs for the whole family with some amazing guitar riffs.

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Funplex - Astralwerks 2008
Rating = 6

I was hoping this album would stink balls so I could use all these great new plays-on-words I made up like "More like the B-50-SNOOZE, if you ask me!" and "More like the B-SHITTY-2's, if you ask me!" and "More like the PEE-52's if you ask me!" but in a devastating blow for the entire human race, it's actually pretty good.

And by "pretty good," I of course mean, "I gave it the same grade as both Cosmic Thing, which I said 'could have been recorded by any worthless batch of anonymous studio musicians,' and Bouncing Off The Satellites, which I labeled 'generic pop music '86. Disappointing. Very, very disappointing.'" In other words, Funplex is better than Good Stuff!

On the up side, there's more guitar on here than on their last few albums, but on the down side it's mostly just Fall-esque garage rock chords that ultimately wind up buried under keyboards anyway. Back on the up side, most of the songs have beautiful female vocals, dramatic chord changes and uptempo dancey drumbeats, Returning to the downside, Fred Schneider's gay-talking schtick is more irritating than endearing this time around, the dramatic chord changes are 100% predictable, and the producer relies heavily on '00s-centric production tricks (muffled electronic rhythms, etc -- the kinds of soon-to-be-dated effects that Madonna so enjoys). (and I use Madonna as an example because I don't know the names of all the other awful dance/pop artists I keep hearing who use this kind of shit in every song they release). In short, it's a mighty dancey album (no more of the trance spiritualism dull Good Stuff muck), but most of the melodies have been around the block more times than a WHORE, if you know what I mean.

I mean the dictionary definition of "whore."

There aren't a whole lot of bad songs on here - in fact, I count only one ("Eyes Wide Open" is more of a dance beat than a musical composition) - but there aren't a whole lot of overwhelmingly memorable ones either. "Hot Corner" seems like the most obvious single, pairing a great uptempo dance beat with fuzzy guitar, a catchy bass line and fun vocals from the whole band. Less obvious but more beautiful are the Abba-reminiscent dark disco "Juliet Of The Spirits" and emotion-tinged "Deviant Ingredient," both of which are further reminders that Kate Pierson and The Other One are among the loveliest vocalists (in harmony or out) in pop music. The rest of the disc is unfortunately a bunch of perfectly danceable but not terribly creative pop music marred further by annoying Schneider-isms like "Faster Pussycat - Thrill! Thrill!" and "Stokin' and a-strokin'. Heat up the night - tonight! When bodies collide!"

It's odd how much some of the guitarwork here reminds me of The Fall. Not just the garage rock chords either; listen to the bendy-note lick in "Keep The Party Going," for example, and tell me that it doesn't sound just like Brix playing "L.A." or "Twister." Add to that the "Colosseum"-esque dance-song-with-no-clear-melody "Eyes Wide Open," and it's as if the entire album were written, produced, recorded and sold at auction by Mark E. Smith! The ENTIRE ALBUM!!! Except The Fall have never made an album this bad.

Not that it's bad! Hell, it's 6-good! Somebody in the band needs to think up some new chord changes though. The "I Can See For Miles" sequence shows up in two different songs, for Pete's sake!

And yes, that was a pun. If you didn't catch it, here it is again:

The pictures of naked little kids show up on two different computers, for Pete's sake!

Oh, but I kid Pete Townshend. We go way back, he and I. Remember the time he wrote Quadrophenia and I called him an asshole? Aww hell yeah. He and I = twins with a capital t.

Reader Comments
Was this ever out of the blue? I didn't hear anything about them getting back together and then they put out an album.

Anyway, this is a nice little fun album that they could have put out in 1994! However, the 52s for me have always been a singles band not an album band and there isn't a great single on here - just a lot of fun album tracks. Probably listen to it and then park it to never listen to it again.

I'm already sick on the election, but I had this great idea earlier tonight. Make the race a dance off between the three remaining candidates with the music being "Rock Lobster". Just watching Hillary, Obama and McCain trying to dance that song would be great and a lot more fun.
A 6 is exactly what Funplex should get. Like you said, there aren't any bad songs, but hardly any of it is anything worth getting excited about. But I gotta say that "Eyes Wide Open" is one of my favorites, and you should reevaluate your incredibly wrong opinion of it.

And maybe Fred should have tried a bit harder, because he seems to just be doing the same cadence all over the damn album. I guess he doesn't know how to do anything else, so maybe we can't hold him to creativity.

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