It’s been – ACK! – one week since I’ve listened to any music whatsoever. This might just be the longest I’ve gone without listening to an album; either new or old. I had some albums queued up for my planned workouts in Barrie, Ontario this past week but, well, besides one long bike, they didn’t happen. So I guess it’s high time to right that wrong with this recently acquired new album to our record collection, the ‘Wild Planet‘ album by the B-52’s.
As I do on every business trip to the ‘ol B-Dot, I drop by BJ’s Records & Nostalgia. I tend to have quite a bit of luck digging up gems to fill out the gaps of my, err, “our” collection (sorry, HRH). And since we listened to the first B-52’s album (click HERE), this was just one of those gaps that needed filling out.
And what a steal for $6.99!
Conventional wisdom typically has it that all the B-52’s’ subsequent releases are highly inferior to their debut. While ‘Wild Planet‘ is not the rarefied wonder their first platter is, it’s still pretty darn good. Recorded and released in 1980, using the same Compass Point Studios located in the Bahamas that they did for their debut album, the songs here are generally faster, tighter, and punchier than previously, though production values are not as wonderfully quirky and detailed; fewer songs here are as over-the-top crazy as the first album’s ‘Rock Lobster‘ or ‘52 Girls‘. These formless selections continue to exhibit a cunning mix of girl group, garage band, surf, and television theme song influences, all propelled along by an itchy dance beat.
‘Give Me Back My Man‘ allows Cindy Wilson a unique opportunity to croon a broad, expressive melodic line. Fred Schneider parades his inimitably nervous vocals on chucklesome ditties like ‘Quiche Lorraine‘ and ‘Strobe Light‘. The best songs here are ‘Private Idaho‘ (which, coincidentally, director Gus Van Sant thanks the band in the credits of the 1991 film ‘My Own Private IdahoMy Own Private Idaho‘ for the use of the song title, however, the song itself is not referred to anywhere in the movie), a wonderfully jittery number that employs a variant on the famous melodic snippet from the Twilight Zone theme music, and ‘Devil in My Car‘, a delightfully loopy hoot that lays the craziness on very thickly, and ‘53 Miles West of Venus‘, represents the bands customary other-worldly musical venture.
It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s classic, it’s no longer a missing element in our collection. Oh, and it’s a great downtime Saturday afternoon spin.
P.S.> I would also like to note that I did not tag this post (or the debut album) as a successful qualifier for the Airplane, Bitches! category given that, despite the name being appropriate in the aviation sense, it does not have an actual picture of an airplane on the cover. Just sayin’…