Thursday, November 15, 2012

152 The B-52's The bomb.

Album: The B52's
Artist: The B 52's
Genre: Pop
Year: 1979


1. Planet Claire
2. 52 Girls
3. Dance This Mess Around
4. Rock Lobster
1. Lava
2. There's a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)
3. Hero Worship
4. 6060-842
5. Downtown

This, loyal readers is the reason I've been writing this blog for so long. It was the presence at this album, at this point in the countdown that made me sit down and take on this project. If you've enjoyed reading my ramblings then you have the B-52's to thank. If you've hated it then it's all their fault.

When this list was published I scoured it with a critical eye wondering how such glaring errors could be made by such an august publication. I was annoyed that the Grateful Dead weren't higher, I was incensed that there wasn't more Frank Zappa and one or two albums in the higher reaches got me all cross and shouty. But what really irked me and kept me in permanent teeth- gnashing mode for a month was the fact that the B-52's, THE B-52's! were higher than OK Computer by Radiohead. I was late to the Radiohead party but when I finally turned up I decided to make up for lost time by being really ardent in my love for some of their albums. It's no exaggeration to say that Radiohead saved me from being one of those insufferably tedious" all the good music was recorded back in the sixties" people that you meet at parties (or at least would if anyone invited them). Thom Yorke and his bandmates proved to me that musical greatness was possible after the eighties had killed it off so the fact that their greatest moment was rated as less important than an album by the people who recorded Love Shack made me apoplectic with rage.

And then someone pointed out I'd never actually heard the B52's debut album. I was comparing something I loved to something I was totally ignorant of which is, lets be honest, an extremely foolish way to behave. My ranting had no justification and was just so much hot air.

And so I decided to listen to every single album on this list. I convinced myself that it was to widen my musical horizons and develop an appreciation of music I wasn't familiar with but if truth be told it was probably more about being able to say I had than anything else. It was simply so I could continue to rail against the B52's without anyone undermining me with my own ignorance.

And now, four years after I started this project I've come to the album that started it all for me and I've actually listened to the album that got me so snotty way back when.

I have to be honest it still rankles a bit. The B52's are fine as far as they go, it's silly party music sung by people who can really sing. It was a laugh back in 1979 and it's a laugh now. A B52's concert would be lots of fun and I'm sure they can really set a party atmosphere.

But is there anything on here that comes close to Paranoid Android? Is there a single track that at its highest point can match even one of the lesser moments on OK Computer? No there isn't, there really isn't. It's like comparing a compilation of youtube fails to a season of the Sopranos. It's pitting Gilligan's island against Arrested Development. It's a Tower Defence game for your Android against Civilization V. I'm not saying it's not fun but it's not a game changer and didn't really alter anyone's life. And does Rock Lobster need to go for nearly seven minutes? It gets really irritating at about the 3 minute mark but it's not even half way through.

The B52's are fine as far as they go but even when they go to their furthest point they can't see Radiohead off in the distance. Trust me I know because I've heard them both.

Highlight: Planet Claire
Lowlight: Downtown

Influenced by: The 1950's and hairspray inhalation
Influenced: The Scissor Sisters

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "the whole point of the B-52's is fun with a grove"

-There is nothing more frustrating that fun without a grove.

So are the B52's the bomb or not? Let me know below

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