The B-52's – The B-52's
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab – MOFI 1-004
Silver Label Vinyl Series
Vinyl, LP, Album, Numbered
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Inc, reissue from 2010. This is part of Mofi's "Silver Label" series. Unlike most Mofi releases, this is not from the original master tapes (which are believed to be missing). Standard-weight vinyl (~120 gram).
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Matrix / Runout (Side A Runout, Etched): MOFI 1-004A PS@MOFI 19216.1(3)
Matrix / Runout (Side B Runout, Etched): MOFI 1-004-B2 PS@MOFI 19315.2(3)
Alternative Rock, New Wave, Synth-pop
A1 Planet Claire
A2 52 Girls
A3 Dance This Mess Around
A4 Rock Lobster
B2 There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)
B3 Hero Worship
Art Direction – Sue Ab Surd
Coordinator [Conseilleur] – Gary Kurfirst
Drums, Percussion, Sounds [Claire] – Keith Strickland
Engineer [Assistant] – Cass Rigby
Guitar, Electronics [Smoke Alarm] – Ricky Wilson
Other [Hairdos By] – La Verne
Photography By – George DuBose
Producer – Chris Blackwell
Producer [Associate], Engineer – Robert Ash
Vocals, Bongos [Bongoes], Tambourine – Cindy Wilson
Vocals, Electronics [Walkie Talkie], Toy Piano – Fred Schneider
Vocals, Organ, Bass [Keyboard] – Kate Pierson
Written-By – F. Schneider (tracks: A1, A4, B4), K. Strickland (tracks: A1, B4), R. Wilson (tracks: A2, A4, B3, B4), The B-52's (tracks: A3, B1, B2)
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.
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.