After all the imports die away, the B-52's--the least seriou
Erica Bell | Washington State | 05/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was a friend's party, senior year in high school, a hot June night after graduation 1980. A girl I knew arrived in a black cat-suit, dominatrix boots, and a purple telephone extension cord wrapped around her slim waist as a belt. I kissed somebody--I don't remember who. And this crazy, goofball tune pounded away on the host's JVC...
"Has anybody seen/ a dog dyed dark green?"
People seemed to know "Rock Lobster" from the year before. I guess I'd missed it. But listening to this album a week later, I found other tunes stuck out more, and one's stayed with me ever since. "Give Me Back My Man" is remarkable, and I don't care how dorky that word sounds in connection to the B-52's. The guitar work--a lonesome drone in a minor key--builds with the plaintive vocals to a hypnotic climax that's sublime--the ultimate woman's crie de coeur. Did I just say that? Yup.
Equally good, though more expansive, is "53 Miles West of Venus". The 50's Sputnik kitch aside, this song succeeds for the same reason "Give Me Back" does--stacatto guitars in a minor key, with wailing female voices pushing the limits of "harmony". Fantastic. It's all here--the humor, the silliness hiding a quirky musicality not unlike Gang of Four. Fantastic, too, to come back to them in adulthood. Some things are too serious to be left to the serious. Give me back my bouffant!
Ricky Wilson: guitar god
Dave | United States | 04/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The B-52's second album, 1980's "Wild Planet", is thoroughly a blast, and probably the best showcase for the late Ricky Wilson's imaginative, propulsive guitar playing--one listen to the track "Runnin' Around", with its weirdly off-kilter, yet driving riffery, and it's clear that Sonic Youth picked up a thing or two from this guy.
And that's not to take anything away from the rest of the band. Drummer Keith Strickland consistently keeps up a great beat on this mostly uptempo album. The only really laidback tune here, "Dirty Back Road", is fantastic, with a breathtakingly tuneful melody and marvelous unison vocals from Kate Piersen and Ricky's brother Cindy. And the inimitable Fred Schneider, with his enthusiastic-yet-unsettled vocal stylings, gets plenty of room to shine, as on the manic, riff-packed classic hit "Private Idaho", and the wacked-out "Strobe Light". Even the album-closing "53 Miles West Of Venus", an instrumental-plus-title chant, has an irresistibly toe-tapping quality. Things get a hair too silly on "Quiche Lorraine", but that's just a minor quibble. "Wild Planet" is an insanely catchy, joyous album--a definite classic of the so-called New Wave era."