There are two things in this world that can put a smile on my face no matter what. The first, which I’ve mentioned frequently and in sometimes graphic detail, is pie. The second is The B-52s. The B-52s have an irrationally curative power over me. For example, if I were ever lost in the wilderness and forced to chew my own leg off, I’m pretty sure that would depress me. On the other hand, if The B-52s were playing in the ambulance after I was rescued and on my way to the hospital, I’m equally sure I’d be smiling, tapping my toes (what was left of them) and designing the Bedazzle pattern for my new peg leg.
This past weekend, I got the new B-52s album, “Funplex,” and it reminded me all over again why I love this band. For one thing, they’re great just in theory. Consider this – the B-52s are what would happen if Shirley McClaine, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, John Waters, Yoko Ono, The Sex Pistols and Paul Lynne all got together and spawned. Someone needs to write their dissertation on that bizarre amalgam, stat.
The B-52s are also ridiculously fun. What other band could write great songs about lobsters, little dogs named Quiche Lorraine and aliens – all with a great beat that’s easy to dance to, even for curmudgeons like me who can’t dance. (Or won’t dance, really.)
“Funplex” incorporates the best of what makes The B-52s great. If you’re not like me and you do enjoy dancing, this is a can’t miss party album. And if you just like hearing weird lyrics, well, they’ve got you covered here, too. And if you just want a bunch of 50-somethings telling you it’s okay to be irresponsible sometimes and just have fun, well than they’ve really got you covered here. In fact, the overriding message of “Funplex” seems to boil down to two things: dancing and making out. I will admit that the latter thing was creeping me out just a wee bit, the same way I think a person would be creeped out hearing their grandparents talk about some great key party they went to back in ’47. On the one hand, you’d think, “Wow, I had no idea my grandparents were so hip back in the day.” On the other hand, as you’re dialing your therapist, you’d think, “Sweet Jesus, my grandparents went to a key party.” That’s kind of what it’s like listening to some of the lyrics on “Funplex.”
Overall, though, the album is terrific fun. Kate, Cindy, Fred and Keith still have the stuff – as weird, crazy, glittery and energetically mood-enhancing as it’s always been.