All-Time Albums: #67


THE B-52’s Cosmic Thing

1 Cosmic Thing 3:50
Dry Country 4:54
3 Deadbeat Club 4:45
4 Love Shack 5:21 (UK single, #2)
5 Junebug 5:04
Roam 4:54 (UK single, #17)
7 Bushfire 4:58
8 Channel Z 4:49 (UK single, #61 on re-release)
Topaz 4:20
10 Follow Your Bliss 4:08

It’s the harmonies, really. Whenever a B-52’s track looks like it might start to get annoying, in come Kate and Cindy and……..aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

Which is not to say that’s the only reason I have always had a curious love for the band’s output, even as far back as Rock Lobster and Planet Claire. Working backwards from Cosmic Thing to really investigate their back catalogue, plenty more gems were to be found from all the albums (yes, even the flop ones).

Cosmic Thing began life quietly, sneaking into the UK Top 75 at #75 for a solitary week in July 1989. Lead single Channel Z had predictably failed, just as Summer Of Love, Wig, Future Generation and a host of others had done since 1980. But then something strange happened; the rather irritating but undeniably catchy Love Shack ascended the US Hot 100, the album followed in its slipstream, and suddenly the campaign was no longer dead in the water.

Thereafter, Love Shack almost topped the British charts in early 1990, and Cosmic Thing became the band’s first-ever UK Top 10 album. Which was popjustice, of course, since the 10 tracks represented a terrific update on the classic 52 sound, courtesy of Don Was and Nile Rogers.

8 out of the 10 cats (oops, I mean tracks) are winners; from the blissful Topaz and evocative Roam, to the funky Dry County, the madcap (in a good way) Channel Z and exceptional instrumental closer Follow Your Bliss. In fact, the madcap (in a not so good way) Love Shack and mildly overcooked Junebug are the only moments which pall slightly.

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