The B-52s have been recording for over 30 years now and with "Funplex" they amazingly manage to maintain their artistic integrity, successfully combining their trademark quirkiness with a definitely modern sound.
"Pump" is a more-than-appropriate opener as it kicks into high-gear immediately. The guitar hook makes you almost feel like Ricky Wilson is still alive, and the whole song has a somewhat "darker" edge to it.
"Hot Corner" is this album's "Love Shack", a great party tune with fun lyrics such as "Hey y'all, last call, last chance to dance". Fred and the girls work together perfectly here.
"Ultraviolet" seems a bit unfocused and all over the map upon first listen, but it does grow on you. Who can resist Fred singing "Keep doing what you're doing cause you're doing it right"?
"Juliet of the Spirits" is perhaps my favorite song on this CD. It is one of two low-key tracks here where Kate and Cindy really shine. Their harmonies are so perfectly dreamy, it almost makes you feel as though you are levitating. There are definitely elements of "Dirty Back Road" apparent in this track, which may explain why I like it so much.
Cindy Wilson really stands out in the title track, "Funplex" which also features some of the funniest lyrics on the CD. "Faster Pussycat, thrill, thrill", and "I'm your daytime waitress, here's your stupid 7-UP".
Interesting techno intros make way for more great Kate/Cindy harmonies on both "Eyes Wide Open" and the futuristic "Love in the Year 3000".
The second of my favorite tracks is the laid-back and soothing "Deviant Ingredient" [see also "Juliet of the Spirits"]. Even the usually-manic Fred sounds like he popped a valium before recording this. We even get a clever helicopter sound effect. The strings on the outro remind me a little of Madonna's "Don't Tell Me".
"Too Much to Think About" is perhaps the most commercial-sound you will find on "Funplex", but it may be my least favorite.
Fred seems somewhat subdued on "Dancing Now" which features memorable bells and chimes, reminiscent of "Give Me Back My Man" from "Wild Planet". Also, there are times on this track where Kate's voice possesses some grittiness and sounds somewhat like Cindy.
The closing track is the rocking "Keep This Party Going" where Fred calls out to major world cities (of course, their native Athens, GA gets top billing). Its rocking vibe is a good way to bookend the CD.
Not many groups with their original members intact can manage to sound fresh enough to capture new fans yet still keep their loyal 30-year fanbase. The B-52s must be praised for maintaining their signature sound yet adapting to today's music scene.
Though less frantic than their first two albums, "Funplex" has more in common with those than with middle-period B's like "Cosmic Thing" and is highly recommended.