|All Artists: B-52's|
Title: Party mix
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Genres: Alternative Rock, Rock
Style: New Wave & Post-Punk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 042284604420, 042284604420
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Oh David what were you doing?
Chris Dust | London, England | 06/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I will start by stating that this review will concern the Mesopotamia section of this release. I remain unacquainted with Party Mix.
For starters Mesopotamia receives a lot of criticism which I feel is largely undue. The title track is arguebly the B52s' greatest achievement. The danceable beat is still evident but it is joined by what I regard as a desire to produce more complex sounding material. The vocal arrangement on this track is particularly memorable. And it has the kind of funk-like vibe that only David Byrne circa 1981 could produce. In other words very much like the sound of Talking Heads and in my opinion a curious hybrid of My life in the Bush of Ghosts, the Catherine Wheel and Wild Planet.
Not all the material on this record is quite so strong. I have the feeling that Mr Byrne was not entirely happy in the capacity of producer of this set. Some of the mixes aren't quite there and the indecision shown by the simultaneous release of different mixes of some tracks on both sides of the Atlantic suggests that someone within the record company at least shared my concerns (with reference to Loveland and Cake). Did Charles Blackwell want an Lp instead of an Ep? Was he concerned about keeping the name of the B52's in the music headlines?
The appearance of an early version of Queen of Las Vegas on Nude on the Moon really aides in attempting to understand what all parties were trying to achieve with this set. Byrne wanted to work with the B52s and again I suggest that the B52s wanted to broaden the scope of their sound. This mix which is so wildly different to the version on Whammy demonstrated the B52s as the missing link between the Talking Heads and Sly and Robbie era Grace Jones. It really is that good and it appears perverse that the track was not included on this release.
As for the remainder of the tracks on Mesopotamia it needs to be reiterated that much of the material is strong but the 'final' mixes are weak. In both versions I find Loveland to out stay its welcome. The 'outside of the USA' mix of Cake however is in my opinion vastly superior to the version which can be found on the original American release. Deep Sleep is a curious 'mood' piece reminiscent of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and is unlike anything else in the B52s' catalogue. Throw that Beat in the Garbage Can does not work and Nip it in the Bud is essentially 'straight-ahead' Eighties rock. I enjoy the track on its own terms but its vibe jars with the rest of the release.
To sum-up this is a curious release which I believe probably suffered from too much pressure from Warners and Island respectively. Everything needed more time BUT there is a lot to enjoy and lyrically I believe the band was never more surreal than on the tracks one can find here. Give it a whirl and I defy any true B52s fan not to fall in love with the title track at the very least."