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Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation.

There are few bands as singular, as specifically American, and yet as downright homo as the B-52's. Few have dared to imitate them. No one could. Their mix of refried surf guitar, cheesy organs, organic dance grooves, and off-kilter harmonies was the alternative of the alternative.

This was some achievement. At a time when disco ruled the dance floor, the B-52's signaled the arrival of a Day-Glo lavender aesthetic too wacky to be woven into a seamless DJ mix yet too wonderful to be ignored. It was even more remarkable that years after they peaked, years after they lost one of their members to complications from AIDS, the B's came back to become multiplatinum rock gods--without losing one iota of fabulousness. This is transformation might have been unnerving if it weren't obvious that these oddballs were at, the top of their game, that, their popularity explosion was a victory we could claim for ourselves: The B-52's broke the big time without losing the weirdness that made them compelling. Although Fred Schneider didn't come out until their last album and Ricky Wilson's sexuality wasn't acknowledged until years after he died, the band nevertheless accomplished what we all wanted--acceptance without assimilation.

That achievement is chronicled on Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation. It's a tribute to their talent that the disc squeezes in 18 tracks and still doesn't include such essential anthems as "Legal Tender" or "Give Me Back My Man." But it does feature two new jams--"Debbie," a tribute to Blondie's Debbie Harry, and "Hallucinating Pluto," another excuse for Schneider to throw a hissy fit. It also includes plenty of the crowd pleasers the band will perform throughout their summer reunion tour with fellow New Wavers the Pretenders. You know it's gonna be pandemonium when Kate, Fred, Keith, and Cindy unleash "Rock Lobster." Be there with big hair.

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Author:Walters, Barry
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Jun 23, 1998
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