So why is The B-52’s on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to listen to “Rock Lobster” for the first time right after it was released in 1979.
And I’d say you can amplify that factor by about 10x if you’re talking about someone outside of the hipster art/college rock scene in Athens, Georgia (where R.E.M. also famously hails from) or a select number of other such like enclaves just starting to spring up around the U.S.
Which is say that “Rock Lobster” is a wild song: wildly original, wildly fun kitsch surf rock-inspired weirdo new wave music. Which I hope also clearly implies that it sounds nothing like a “1970s song.” In fact, it sounds like nothing entirely except what it is, its own unique thing.
Like many from my generation, my first exposure to The B-52’s came by way of the “Love Shack” song and music video in the late ‘80s (see: Cosmic Thing: #479 of best 1,000 albums ever). Along with songs like “Roam” and “Topaz,” I eventually came to recognize that The B-52’s also had some great “older stuff” such as “Private Idaho” and especially “Rock Lobster.”
But it took me some time to find my back into The B-52’s archives to fully explore their self-titled debut album. It turned out to be well worth the effort because just like “Rock Lobster,” it’s a hell of a good time.
Over the years, “52 Girls” has become of my most favorite B-52’s songs. I love Ricky Wilson’s stutter-y, angular guitar riffs, and Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson’s vocals have never sounded as gorgeous or ebullient.
“Planet Claire” has a heavy Peter Gunn theme song influence mapped against spooky and kitschy surf rock vibes.
“Hero Worship” does have a bit of a late ‘70s power rock vibe, touching on influences such as The Runaways and The Knack.
But it’s the more experimental tracks like “Dance This Mess Around” that show off The B-52’s at their very best, and point to a coming decade of music heavily influenced by new wave, pop, rock, and dance music.
Some stats & info about The B-52’s
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, New Wave, Dance Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #198
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was The B-52’s released? 1979
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #382 out of 1,000
The B-52’s on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from The B-52’s that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
It wasn’t a rock – it was rock lobster.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.