Good Stuff, by The B52’s
Reviewed by Peet Denny
Right, gird yer dancing loins, it’s party time!
The B52s are the band that wedding DJs put on to get everyone on the dancefloor and get the evening started, baby (he added, for effect). And (F**k Yeah!) it works every time. Even I, your podge-burdened reviewer can be seen getting up for a moist go.
20 minutes ago, I was a nub of a man; ground down by a 60 hour week of childcare, legalese and Zoom. But now I’m sitting on my bed with Good Stuff on. Loud. And it’s awesome. It’s that Friday night, pre-drinking drinking, getting ready to go out with your mates feeling. The trio have figured out how to bottle this feeling so that you can rub it on your gums whenever you need to feel great.
Kate, Fred and Keith were in their forties when they wrote this (the age that we are now!), but they come across as the most fun frat boys and sorority girls ever. Which is just as well, considering how, erm, festive most of their subject matter is.
You got me pantin’ like a dog.
Ooo, I’m a hot pants, hot dog.”
That “Ooo”: Uncle Fred pulls it off. Many wouldn’t.
The band grew up during the swinging sixties and that influence has never really left their music, and that’s fine by me. Sexy times with friends is a fun and surprisingly uncontroversial subject to sing about when you’re doing it loudly and to music in public. E.g. at weddings.
Nan! Why are you singing about fellatio?!
Tracks 2 & 3 are classic 52s’ fare: Raw, visceral, sexy sex. What they did in the 80s with “Love Shack”, they’ve recreated in the 90s with “Hot Pants”, quoted above.
Then, there’s the chin-scratchingly dubious “Good Stuff”
“Gonna wallow in a loving hollow, in your damn good stuff” – what are you on about Fred?!
A lot of these lyrics make me wonder if there’s some wonderful secret about sex that I’ve never really discovered and that’s what everyone else looks so happy about.
But this is the ‘transcendence album”. It’s not just about snoo snoo.
It’s also about connecting with the whole universe through dreams, meditation, and something called Psilocybin.
Dreamland is the standout track of the album. It’s seven minutes long, but it’s so damn interesting. And that variable reward trick at the end of the chorus gets the dopamine going every time.
I wasn’t looking forward to reviewing this album at first. “That’s not serious music” the scrivener within me snivelled. And Fred’s got his whole camped up “Sprechgesang” not-talking-not-singing thing going on.
But it was a pleasure to listen to because it’s such good fun.
And that’s what “the twos” are all about.
If music is an ultra-high-bandwidth way to communicate feelings, then what these guys are pipelining directly into my nucleus accumbens is this: “We’re having a great time with other people, we’re young, we’re happy, we’ve got a bit of a buzz going on, here, have a toke, this is what it feels like. Hey! Is that Jerry Garcia playing guitar on the beach? Let’s go and check it out with these topless boys and girls!”