The B-52s Albums Ranked

The B-52s (styled as The B-52’s prior to 2008) are an American new wave band that was formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1976. The original line-up consisted of Fred Schneider (vocals, percussion), Kate Pierson (vocals, keyboards), Cindy Wilson (vocals, percussion), Ricky Wilson (guitar), and Keith Strickland (drums, guitar, keyboards). Ricky Wilson died from AIDS-related illness in 1985, and Strickland switched from drums to lead guitar. The band also added touring members for albums and live performances. The group evoked a “thrift shop aesthetic”, in the words of Bernard Gendron, by drawing from the 1950s and 1960s pop sources, trash culture, and rock and roll. Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson sometimes use call-and-response-style vocals (Schneider’s often humorous sprechgesang contrasting with the melodic harmonies of Pierson and Wilson), and their guitar- and keyboard-driven instrumentation composes their trademark sound which was also set apart from their contemporaries by the unusual guitar tunings used by Ricky Wilson on their earlier albums. The band has had many hits, including “Rock Lobster”, “Planet Claire”, “Private Idaho”, “Whammy Kiss”, “Party Out of Bounds”, “Wig”, “Love Shack” and “Roam”. Here are all of The B-52s albums ranked.

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10. Party Mix (1981)

“The songs are among the finest the B-52s ever recorded. They groove, they rock, they’re funny … all the things I love about the band. But they really were stretching out their boundaries and exploring new territory on this little EP, which is included in Party Mix.”

9. Party Mix!/Mesopotamia (1991)

“Marvellous mix of the purest party poppers from the beat bashing B 52’s. Athens’ finest.Unbeatable and you know what they say the B-52’s never bomb. They did all the songs on Meso and totally rocked and had fun and generated fun for everybody else. Thanks, B-52s, for making such enjoyable music!”

8. Funplex (2008)

“The album starts off with the words “When I look at you I am ready to pump” and the sexuality floats in and out of every song afterwords. This is a WONDERFUL album- not a false note anywhere. If the B-52s can produce this kind of quality 16 years later then they are certainly going to be around for a very long time!”

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7. Mesopotamia (1982)

“This album is not perfection and certainly not The B-52′s at their best, but it’s definitely a great and fun listen. If you’re a casual fan of the band then perhaps this isn’t the album for you. However, if you have a diverse taste in music like myself then I say give this a chance because I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.”

6. Whammy! (1983)

“Their 5th album, and one of their good albums, The first side rocks with Legal Tender, Whammy Kiss, Song For A Future Generation. Even though the album, when first released had the song “Don’t Worry” on side two after “Queen Of Las Vegas” but later on it was replaced by “Moon 83”, because “Don’t Worry” had issues because it was a Yoko Ono cover.”

5. Good Stuff (1992)

“The vibe is the same, the harmonies are fantastic, and the evolution of their sound seems seamless between the two. And like Cosmic Thing, there are deep cuts that I love more than the hits, which is hard to do on one album, let alone two or more. The vocals on Revolution Earth alone are worth it.”

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4. Bouncing Off The Satellites (1986)

“It’s a shame the group choose to ignore this album because it’s actually the finest collection of pop songs they ever put together. Very much the brainchild of founder member Ricky Wilson who sadly passed away during it’s making it would be nice if the band could embrace it a little more.”

3. Wild Planet (1980)

“The B-52’s second album, 1980’s “Wild Planet”, is thoroughly a blast, and probably the best showcase for the late Ricky Wilson’s imaginative, propulsive guitar playing–one listen to the track “Runnin’ Around”, with its weirdly off-kilter, yet driving riffery, and it’s clear that Sonic Youth picked up a thing or two from this guy.”

2. Cosmic Thing (1989)

“The title track initiates the heart-racing frenzy that rampages through the entire album. “Follow Your Bliss,” the instrumental closer, provides a sort of a mellow cool down that prepares one for a return to reality. In between, things never slow down. After shaking honey buns until the butter melts, “Dry Country” kicks the blues by swinging on the porch.”

1. The B-52’s (1979)

“The songs, musically spare and slyly obliterating the then-reigning (and declining) disco sound, consist mostly of minimalist clanging guitar, choppy and/or eerie keyboards, and slashing witty lyrics with on-target vocal delivery by all. What you have to understand is that in spite of the wackiness, this album works as serious music, or maybe I mean to say “music to take seriously”.”