“‘70s new wave…melded to ‘50s trash-rock” – Blender Magazine
Dance This Mess Around
There’s a Moon in the Sky Called the Moon
Rock Lobster (8/11/79) #56 US, #12 UK
“To call the B-52’s…sound” (Blender) of “‘70s new wave…melded to ‘50s trash-rock” (Blender) “unique…would be a considerable understatement” (Blender). “Even in the weird, quirky world of new wave and post-punk in the late ‘70s, the B-52’s’ eponymous debut stood out as an original. Unabashed kitsch mavens at a time when their peers were either vulgar or stylish, the Athens quintet celebrated all the silliest aspects of pre-Beatles pop culture – bad hairdos, sci-fi nightmares, dance crazes, pastels, and anything else that sprung into their minds – to a skewed fusion of pop, surf, avant-garde, amateurish punk, and white funk” (Erlewine). “They were campy, amateurish and outrageously good” (Blender).
“On paper, it sounds like a cerebral exercise, but it played like a party. The jerky, angular funk was irresistibly danceable, winning over listeners dubious of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson’s high-pitched, shrill close harmonies and Fred Schneider’s campy, flamboyant vocalizing, pitched halfway between singing and speaking. It’s all great fun, but it wouldn’t have resonated throughout the years if the group hadn’t written such incredibly infectious, memorable tunes as Planet Claire, Dance This Mess Around, and, of course, their signature tune, Rock Lobster. These songs illustrated that the B-52’s’ adoration of camp culture wasn’t simply affectation – it was a world view capable of turning out brilliant pop singles and, in turn, influencing mainstream pop culture. It’s difficult to imagine the endless kitschy retro fads of the ‘80s and ‘90s without the B-52’s pointing the way, but The B-52’s isn’t simply an historic artifact – it’s a hell of a good time” (Erlewine).
Blender Magazine’s 100 Greatest American Albums (10/08)