Sometimes the B-52s could be as annoying as a little sister crashing her big brother’s beach party.
Other times — the better times — the New Wave band from Athens, Ga. sparkled with groove lines and quirky, goofy lyrics.
Lead singer Fred Schneieder said the band was a mix of “rock ‘n ‘roll, funk, and Fellini, and game show host, and corn, and mysticism.” He nailed it.
Here’s the band’s best:
1. “Mesopotamia” — Granted, it was a change in style led by producer David Byrne (Talking Heads) but the bass line is the B-52s funkiest and most efficient. The self-aware lyrics are witty: “I ain’t no student of ancient culture/Before I talk I should read a book/But there’s one thing I do know/There’s a lot of ruins in Mesopotamia.”
2. “Summer of Love” -— The vocals and synths are like a summer shower.
3. “Love Shack” — The best story line of all their songs. Thanks to the lyrical build-up, you can’t wait to get dancin’. An ‘80s time capsule hit that is still sung at wedding parties and karaoke bars around the world.
4. “Channel Z” — A political song pleading for cleansing of the mental static over pollution, wars, the stock market and mindless TV.
5. “Roam” — A kiss begins a journey around the world “without wings, without wheels.” “Roam” is like flying and floating without a plane. And you don’t want it to stop.
And The B-52s worst:
“Planet Claire” — Just when you think it’s a poppy, preppy sci-fi instrumental, words get in the way. (And dare I say, “Rock Lobster” — This underwater ditty has ladies gurgling over a silly story that needs Spongebob’s cleverness.)