Saturday, 11 July 2009

I'm not no limburger

This has been one of my favourite albums for over twenty years. I can't think of another record like it (apart from the follow up "Wild Planet"). At first listen ("Rock Lobster" for me and most other people I imagine) they seem pretty silly. But it's a great tune that really shows off the vocal talents of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. The noises they make for all the different sea creatures that Fred Schneider reels off are awesome, "Here comes a narwhal" - "Urh Urh Eeee Uhh". It helps that narwhal is one of my favourite words, in fact they're one of my favourite animals - weird, scary looking things. As well as vocally Kate and Cindy are the visual focus of the group and they are by no stretch limburgers. Like latter day thrifty beatniks Pulp, the look was no doubt inspired by whatever they could get. The retro stylings and the fact that they had a number of songs about UFOs (only two on the debut though) makes me think of them whenever I watch "Third Rock from the Sun". They could be the house band.

Despite the lurid day-glo image a lot of the songs have a heavy undertow of alienation. "Dance This Mess Around" most obviously but "Hero Worship" and "Downtown" don't hold back on the misery and desperation. Musically it's very solid. The guitars chug and grind with some odd tuning over the top, which along with the keyboards give some of the songs their slightly unhinged sound.

I've got "Whammy" somewhere and of course I bought the single "Loveshack" but I really only rate the first two albums. I did buy "The Best of The B 52s" for "Wig" - which is a very silly song indeed, but superbly silly. Silly to the point of pop genius.

The B 52s: 52 Girls

The B 52s: Downtown


  1. Hi Artog,

    The B'52's... I get the creeps if I listen to them when I am hungovered. Something about the singers' voices. Otherwise, I kind of like them.

  2. Hello Jenny,

    There is something deranged about them which I'm sure a hangover would emphasise. For those not-too-serious hangovers I'll tend to go for slightly manic music: "Boris the Spider" by the Who, "Thankfully Not Living In South Yorkshire It Doesn't Apply" by Dexy's Midnight Runners and "Black Monk Time" by the Monks (in its entirety).

  3. Deranged, that is the right word! Manic music might very well be a cure for lighter ones, as a way to get going again.

    Traffic is one of my absolute favourite bands, whether I am drunk, sober, hangovered. Yet, "Here We Go Round the Mullberry Bush" and "There's a Hole in My Shoe" are like nightmares to listen to the day after. In the same league as "Rock Lobster", I would argue.

  4. I was only familiar with "Hole In My Shoe" so I've done a little bit of listening. I prefer the stuff that Stevie Winwood doesn't sing on I think, his voice is a bit too manly.

  5. I guess Winwoods's voice is the sort that you either like or dislike. I really like his voice, as long as he does not get in his Little Richard mood, screaming his tonsils out.