Tuesday, April 8, 2008

on the record: broke my heart at the funplex

in 1979 when they released their first album, the b-52's sounded at the same time completely retro and totally new. their sound was a unique combination of surf, spy, party, punk, and outer space.

despite being the granddaddy of pop-punk-party-surf bands, the b-52's sound is as unique and special as ever. in many ways funplex is the most b-52's sounding b-52's album in a long time, while at the same time being further from that original spare sound than almost anything they've done since.

pump gets the party started, and keith strickland's secret agent guitar sets a familiar mood. "pump it up! give it up! turn up the track!" cindy and kate beckon in their familiar fifths. pump would fit right in on that first b-52's album, although the sound effects would have been a little less sophisticated back then.

juliet of the spirits, this album's roam, or dirty back road, is the girl's tune, sans fred. juliet could be a radio hit and you might be hard pressed to identify the band.

the title tune deserves to be a great big fat hit. it's an instant b-52's classic:
"i'm your daytime waitress at the taco tiki hut
i'm your daytime waitress, here's your stupid 7-up
you kicked my heart goin' up and down the escalator
you blew me off and now you missed the real thing!"
eyes wide open and love in the year 3000 ("robots, bootybots, erotobots" chants fred) are the b's answer to bringing sexy back. deviant ingredient is a laid-back sexy party ("strip naked soul soup" ooze the girls.) too much to think about has some bangles soundin' vocals from kate and cindy, and dancing now is fred's frustrated, angry rant.

the b's wrap it all up with keep this party going, something they've accomplished with this cd.

the bonus tracks are live versions of classics private idaho and planet claire, and you're reminded of that original sparse, bare b-52's sound. it's as fresh today as it was back then, and as much as i love funplex, i sometimes miss that simple and spare approach.

1 comment:

  1. i'll be seeing them in concert this summer in San Francisco, and i'm SO EXCITED!


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