Showing posts with label The B-52s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The B-52s. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

85/100 Video - "Planet Claire" – The B52s (1979)

From the opening alien synth notes of "Planet Claire", 
The B52s remind us on this early single that they are gifts from another galaxy. 

What's extraordinary about this song is that it takes almost two minutes until the first vocals appear: that is unless you count Kate Pierson's lip sync of the intro synth line.

Meanwhile, vocalist Fred Schneider plays a mean cowb...I mean walkie-talkie?!

The eccentric gals and guys of this unique band have always taken fun seriously with silly lyrics, antics and outfits.

It still blows my that two important alternative artists emerged from the college town of Athens, Georgia (population: approx. 125,000).

Monday, January 27, 2020

1978 - "Rock Lobster" - The B-52s

For many of us, this song was a kooky introduction to the fascinating world of marine biology and cowbell percussion. For some of us, this early new wave anthem was also an initiation to a social activity called slam dancing that used to fill the floor with tomfoolery at the Banook Canoe Club in Dartmouth

From the opening guitar and synth riffs, "Rock Lobster" by The B-52s is both catchy and menacing. 

The lyrics are silly and fun, sometimes hysterical, always ridiculous: "There they saw a rock. It wasn't a rock. It was a Rock Lobster." 

While the frenetic guitar riff is a throwback to surfer rock, the track turns on its head halfway in to pure chaos, becoming almost punk.

The interplay that follows between Fred Schneider's lead vocals and Kate Pierson's sound effects are mind blowing.

When the dust settles, "Rock Lobster" may have been that magic point in time where the rawness of punk collided with the innovation of new wave. Regardless, this is a polarizing track, one you either adore or despise.

Other favourites from 1978: 

"Baker Street" – Gerry Rafferty

"September" – Earth, Wind and Fire

"Sultans of Swing" – Dire Straits

Sunday, February 17, 2019

#50. "Private Idaho" - The B-52s (1980)

If we attempted to chart artists and music genres on a graph, I'd place The B-52s at the intersection of punk and new wave. With "Private Idaho" at the dead centre. 

The B-52's are my favourite all-American band (Fleetwood Mac makes things complicated!). They're just so cool and cooky.

Forget about the party anthem "Love Shack", it's tunes like "Rock Lobster" (1979) and "Private Idaho" that are the heart and soul of this quirky outfit. 

The track flat out grooves, led by the surf guitar and fueled by lead singer Fred Schneider's deadpan vocal delivery, while Cindy and Kate lay down some amazing harmonies. 

"Private Idaho" is undoubtedly my favorite song about the subject of paranoia: "Get out of the state" referring to state of mind, not the actual potato capital of the US. 

A close second in terms of 80s songs about paranoia would be this Rockwell classic: