From lovable weirdos to queer icons, the B-52’s dance this mess around one last time.
The B-52’s have been a part of the alternative landscape for decades. They’re the perfect band to have on your iPod or on “that song” on your car radio—just put on “Walls,” and you’re halfway there. Their music has been part of the fabric of American society for half a decade longer than they have.
Now they make a comeback, after over 30 years of relative peace and silence from the B-52s. B52s Live! — a double album that pays tribute to the band’s career and their many fans—is a rare chance to re-see the band through a live context. (The group has released three live albums.)
“We’ve been doing all sorts of things that we’ve had an interest in doing for years,” Mark Hoppus says on the album’s opening track. “I’ve been doing radio shows in the basement of the studio—my favorite show is probably the one we played at the Great American Music Hall in the 1980s. There’s a lot of bands who got a lot of airplay in the ’70s and ’80s, and they’ve all died off now. That’s when the [alternative and independent] scene was at its peak.” “Oh, that’s what I used to call them in the ’60s,” they quip, with one final wave of the mop, and the intro to B52s Live! stops.
The album opens with “Walls,” the only B-52’s song not written by Hoppus and John Shanks, who were the band’s only songwriting partners for all those years