While we would like to contrive some sort of cosmic reason for compiling this list today, we confess: We got “Mesopotamia” stuck in our heads yesterday, while walking into the office kitchen, and that was motivation enough. All of these tunes are available on 2002’s excellent two-disc Rhino set Nude On The Moon: The B-52’s anthology. Put it on, have a flaming volcano and enjoy.
an introduction to the girlish harmonies and utter silliness that were both band hallmarks.
A bit of cheesy minimalism, led by Kate Pierson’s vocals and driven by a drum machine.
An effervescent comeback after guitarist Ricky Wilson’s heart-wrenching death in 1985.
After some boy-girl call and response, it explodes into a humongous pop chorus.
Love the spy-movie bass line. And how gutsy to go more than two minutes with no vocals whatsoever.
According to incriminating photographic evidence, we might possibly have performed this one night in a Key West karaoke bar.
A New Wave symphony of clanging guitar and snaking bass. The groove is impossibly sick.
Another sick groove. (The B-52’s were “groovy” on multiple levels.) We love how this song really seems to be about Mesopotamia—there’s a corny joke or two, but no fancy metaphors. Just a funky song about turning back the clock and meeting us by the third pyramid.
Slashing guitar, a melody that bobs and weaves, and a merciless hook.
A beach-party classic. Formerly our ringtone. As we were playing this in the office, our boss remarked aloud on how many different distinct parts the song has — and (as usual, Josh!) he was right. By the time the song is over, you feel like you’ve listened to about six different tunes.