When the Beatles or Madonna released a new LP you never knew what to expect. The B-52s new album, Funplex, sounds exactly like the B-52s. I miss a lot of the groups from 1980s-and usually hate the new albums they occasionally release. Not so with the B-52s. New Wave music was fun and a little different. But New Wave was already dead when the B-52s had their biggest hit Love Shack from the surprisingly good album Cosmic Thing.
Cosmic Thing by the B-52s had a lot of instrumentals on it-since the B-52s are kind of a flashback to the 1950s/1960s this made sense-The Ventures, The Champs, and Duane Eddy spring to mind. There are no instrumentals on Funplex, and neither is there a clear cut hit like Love Shack or the wonderfully odd Rock Lobster.
If there is one theme through most of the songs it is a sexual note-there is a lot of talk about G-spots, striping naked, and free fall sex. I never thought of the B-52s as exactly sexy when they were young-so songs like Deviant Ingredient seem a bit more creepy than sexy now that they are in their fifties.
The B-52s sound exactly like they did the first time I heard them. After 16 years the B-52s are still different from the rest of the music world. They call themselves the World’s Greatest Party Band-is that what they’ve been doing the last 16 years? Playing Raves and Birthday Parties? Whatever the B-52s have been up to, they haven’t lost their edge.