Under Appreciated B-52's Album That was Ricky Wilson's Last
M. Hart | USA | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1985, one of the B-52's key members, composer/lyricist/guitarist Ricky Wilson, was suffering from complications resulting from HIV and AIDS. Unfortunately, with no adequate treatments for HIV in 1985, Ricky passed away in October of that year not long after he and his band mates (sister Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson and Keith Strickland) had completed recording the album entitled "Bouncing Off the Satellites", which was released a few months later in 1986. While grieving Ricky's loss and lacking Ricky's unique guitar sound, the four surviving members of the B-52's decided to not go on a concert tour to promote the album. Sadly, this album, which was dedicated to Ricky's memory, quickly went into obscurity and many people speculated whether it marked the end of the B-52's. Fortunately, the four surviving members regrouped a few years later and recorded their most commercially successful album, "Cosmic Thing", in 1989; but Ricky's final album continues to this day to be least known B-52's album.The ten songs of "Bouncing Off the Satellites", which total nearly 46 minutes of play time, are rather good overall in spite of several negative critiques written about the album shortly after its release in 1986. It also features rare vocals by Keith and Ricky. I rate each of the album's ten songs as follows:1. "Summer Of Love" (5 stars, sung by Kate & Cindy). Fun & danceable song praising the fun and heat of the summer. This song was used in the soundtrack of the 1989 film "Earth Girls Are Easy".
2. "Girl From Ipanema Goes to Greenland" (5 stars, Sung by Cindy). A fun tribute to the well known jazzy 1960's song "Garota De Ipanema" (a.k.a. "The Girl From Ipanema") by Stan Getz And Joao Gilberto. Ipanema is a well-known beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
3. "Housework" (4.5 stars, sung by Kate). A fun tribute to the toils of housework and wanting a man to help clean.
4. "Detour Through Your Mind" (5 stars, sung by Fred, Cindy & Kate). A fast & fun internalized trip through the mind and visiting a doctor.
5. "Wig" (4.5 stars, sung by Fred, Cindy & Kate). A fast & fun tribute to various wigs, which were often a trademark part of the B-52's performing costumes.
6. "Theme for a Nude Beach" (5 stars, sung by Fred, Cindy, Kate, Keith & Ricky). One of the very few songs sung by all 5 B-52's members, this fun song with beautiful harmonic vocals praises the joys of being on a nude beach.
7. "Ain't It a Shame" (5+ stars, sung by Cindy, Keith & Ricky). This sad, but beautiful, love song is one of the few with Ricky & Keith singing and is probably the only one with this combination of vocals in the B-52's repetoire.
8. "Juicy Jungle" (4 stars, sung by Fred & John Coté). A fast & danceable song praising the environment and nature, as well as protecting the rain forests of the world.
9. "Communicate" (4.5 stars, sung by Fred, Cindy & Kate). A fast song encouraging people to talk to prevent arguments.
10. "She Brakes For Rainbows" (5 stars, sung by Cindy, Ricky, Keith & Kate). Mostly a beautiful solo for Cindy that I would love to hear performed live.Whether or not you are a diehard B-52's fan, this is a wonderful album that has truly been very under appreciated since it was recorded 18 years ago. Overall, I rate the B-52's album "Bouncing Off the Satellites" with a very-well deserved 5 stars and highly recommend it to every B-52's fan, especially to those fans who have never heard all of its songs."
Underrated, bittersweet B's release
Bill Cooper | SE United States | 12/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The B-52's had been through a lot between the release of 1983's "Whammy" and the 1986 release of "Bouncing Off the Satellites." The musical climate had changed since they first came on to the scene in the late 70's with their quirky blend of sci-fi madness and new wave party anthems. It had also been 3 full years between albums. And the members' personal relationships with one another seemed to be coming apart at the seams. But sending things into even further disarray was the death of founding member and multi-instrumentalist Ricky Wilson in 1985. To make things even worse, "Bouncing Off the Satellites" was a commercial disaster, and it would be ANOTHER three years before the band would make an amazing comeback with the multi-platinum, hit-filled "Cosmic Thing."Perhaps because of Wilson's battle with AIDS during the making of the album, "Bouncing Off the Satellites" is considerably more downbeat than its predecessors. "Summer of Love" (which was actually a top-10 dance hit) manages to be dark and upbeat at the same time, while Wilson's sister Cindy does her best Patsy Cline impersonation on the ballad (!) "Ain't it a Shame." "She Brakes for Rainbows," the closing track and one of the album's highlights, also leans toward the melancholy (it's also an absolutely gorgeous tune.)There was much criticism of producer Tony Mansfield's synth-filled arrangements on "Bouncing Off the Satellites." Granted, the heavy synthetics sometimes added unnecessary weight to the songs, and the album as a whole lacks focus because the band members worked on their own individual tracks (only 4 songs include all 5 band members.)Despite the turmoil and darkness surrounding the recording of the album, there are still plenty of party anthems to be found here. "Wig" is one of the goofiest tracks they've ever recorded, and "Detour Thru Your Mind" and "Theme for a Nude Beach" are quintessential B-52's.Fred Schneider is noticably absent from half the tracks here, but considering his barking vocal style can wear thin over the course of an entire album, it's not necessarily a huge loss. As a matter of fact, Schneider is responsible for the only true dud here, the overwrought ecology-themed "Juicy Jungle" (actually a Fred Schneider solo, since he is the only member of the B-52's to even appear on the track). "Bouncing Off the Satellites" is actually quite a showcase for the talents of vocalist Cindy Wilson, who sings lead on three tracks here...the insanely catchy "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland" is a particular highlight.Despite the critical and commercial failure of "Bouncing Off the Satellites," it remains one of their best albums, and deserves a listen by even the most casual B's fan."
THE BEST AND MOST UNDERRATED OF B-52'S ALBUMS!
Bill Cooper | 08/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think many B-52's fans would agree that "Bouncin off the Satellites" is the best B-52's album. Yes, it has more of a melancoly feel, but the songs are absolutely gorgeous. "Summer of Love," "Girl From Ipanema Goes to Greenland," "She Brakes for Rainbows," "Detour Through Your Mind," and "Theme for a Nude Beach" are all highlights, but the true gem is "Ain't It A Shame." Sung in heartwrenching glory by Cindy, the song is arguably the most musically beautiful and under-recognized B-52's song. This album will have you laughing, crying, and thinking a lot about yourself. It captures not only the state of the B-52's during the mid-80's, but also the underlying uncertainty in society. BUY THIS ALBUM! You won't regret it. For a band that is often considered to be simply quirky, this album has true musical and emotional substance. You also won't hear many of these songs performed at concerts, so at least make them a part of your life with the recording."
The Underrated Album Preceding The Cosmic Thing Smash
Bernie Journey | New York City | 12/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BOUNCING OFF THE SATELLITES is an extraordinary album which is overlooked and undeservedly underrated."Summer of Love" and "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland" are purely effervescent. Seek out rare but still obtainable remixes of "Summer of Love" and "Girl from Ipanema Goes To Greenland" if you need further convincing. This album is also the last B-52's album to have a songwriting contribution from the late band member Ricky Wilson, whose presence is felt throughout this recording. When listening to this album one can sense the artistic direction the band is heading before hitting big with COSMIC THING."
Sorely Under-rated in its Day
L. S. Slaughter | Chapel Hill, NC | 02/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While this late 80s foray is not without its problems, many of which were due to Ricky Wilson's premature passing, I'm left with the impression that the band's grief over his death gives soul and depth to two of the album's most stellar cuts: "Ain't it a Shame?" and the achingly lovely "She Brakes for Rainbows.""Whammy" the previous LP, was not my cup of tea, and my interests were veering away from the vibe that had made the first two B albums from 79 and 80 some of my favorite vinyl on the planet. For some reason I picked up this cassette that Spring of '87 on a car trip back from Tucson to L.A. and found myself transported. I think I played "She Brakes for Rainbows" about a hundred times before I finally got back to Tinseltown.Yes, I always have problems with some of Fred's stuff, even though he's a fun guy and turns in a gem now and then (i.e. "There's A Monster in my Pants" for instance), so "Detour Thru Your Mind" and "Juicy Jungle" don't get played much. But "Housework" is lite and catchy, and "Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland" is fab dance floor psychedelia with cosmic reverb galore.The highlight here for me is Cindy Wilson's eccentric, interstellar, one-of-a-kind voice, and yeah, I dig all the Fairlight synthethic textures, as much as people panned them in their day.Chalk up another one for the South and the Bs: They took the bitchiness out of camp and replaced it with love. Flyyyyyyyyyy, Brenda.........."