Indiana Daily Student

This tin roof is rusted


The B-52’s have never been known to make poignant, thought-provoking music. But they’ve never really cared either. They were synonymous with cheesy, electro-beach-blanket tunes. Whether it was the futuristic “Channel Z” or the surfer-esque “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster,” The B-52’s provided the perfect soundtrack for a road trip through big city California that ended in a clambake at a beach with all your friends.

Which is why their first studio release in 16 years (since “Cosmic Thing” in 1992) is such a let down. Inspired by New Order’s Get Ready, The B-52’s hired producer Steve Osborne to help create an updated sound for Funplex. Sadly this new sound, which is overproduced, lacks the magic of previous albums. Gone are the days of “Love Shack.” Say hello to the “electric luau” according to the opening track “Pump.”

A majority of the tracks sound as if they were written in the hopes that Paris Hilton would personally cruise around Beverly Hills with the top down on Rodeo Drive, blasting this album. The sounds of dance-club pop and California beach rock are so discordant that it sounds like a sonic version of President Bush and a Democratic Congress. They just don’t mix, and ultimately one of them gets completely ignored. Songs such as “Funplex” and “Hot Corner”, and essentially most of the album, sound like they don’t even want you to go to the beach, preferring that you just stay at the mall.

Some of their old magic, however, sneaks into songs like “Juliet of Spirits,” which features Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson working in harmony, reminiscent of “Deadbeat Club;” and “Love in the Year 3000” seems to have pushed the old B-52’s sound behind and focused more on the “new” sound, which actually makes this song an original gem on the album.

The new sound ultimately is what kills this album. Unlike the song “Keep This Party Going,” this was a party they should never have started.

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