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Pop - Released June 23, 1989 | Warner Records

Many observers were prepared to write off the B-52's after the release of Bouncing Off the Satellites. Granted, the album was completed in the wake of Ricky Wilson's death, but the group appeared bereft of new musical ideas and were sounding rather stale. In other words, the last thing anyone expected was a first-class return to form, which is what they got with Cosmic Thing. Working with producers Don Was and Nile Rodgers, the B-52's updated their sound with shiny new surfaces and deep, funky grooves -- it was the same basic pattern as before, only refurbished and contemporized. Just as importantly, they had their best set of songs since at least Wild Planet, possibly since their debut. "Cosmic Thing" and "Channel Z" were great up-tempo rockers; "Roam" had a groovy beat blessed with a great Cindy Wilson vocal; and "Deadbeat Club" was one of their rare successful reflective numbers. Then there was "Love Shack," an irresistible dance number with delightfully silly lyrics and hooks as big as a whale that unbelievably gave the group a long-awaited Top Ten hit. The thing is, Cosmic Thing would already have been considered a triumphant return without its commercial success. The big sales were just the icing on the cake. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Pop - Released October 28, 2008 | Warner Records


Pop - Released December 16, 2008 | Warner Records

In 1981, The B-52's issued a six-track EP containing remixes of some of the most popular songs from their first two albums. In 1982, they released a new six-track EP produced by Talking Heads' David Byrne called Mesopotamia. Neither of them was essential, but both had their virtues, and they were put together on one CD after the group's big commercial breakthrough with Cosmic Thing. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Pop - Released April 20, 1983 | Warner Records

Following the botched collaboration with David Byrne on Mesopotamia, the B-52's decided to craft their fourth album as a return to the pop-culture funk explosion of their debut. Smartly, they decided to not simply replicate the skewed Southern funk of that album, choosing to update their signature sound with drum machines and new wave synths. As a result, it now sounds a little forced and dated, but the best moments -- "Legal Tender," "Whammy Kiss," "Butterbean," "Song for a Future Generation" -- rank as B-52's classics, and the entire record is certainly entertaining, even with its faults. [Whammy! was originally released with a cover of Yoko Ono's "Don't Worry." When the time came to reissue the CD in 1989, the group ran into copyright troubles with Ono and the song was pulled, replaced by "Moon 83."] © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo