The B-52's influence cuts a wide path through much of so-called Modern Rock-- from the low-fi efforts of nouveau garage bands and the Retro-Hip of Ultra-Lounge to the very ascendance of Dance music itself. Twenty years and 20 million albums into a career that began as a low-rent lark in Athens, Georgia, the B-52's remain the most unlikely Pop superstars ever. The first band to glorify Pop culture with an almost Warholian sense of purpose, their absurd B-movie style and off-kilter sound celebrated the weirdness lurking just beneath the surface of Americana--not exactly a recipe for chart success, but way ahead of its time, nonetheless.
After the likes of "Rock Lobster" and "606-0842," a lot of new wavers were curious about what Athens, Georgia's fun-loving B-52s were going to do for an encore. The answer came with this rollicking second album in 1980, which found flat-toned Fred Schneider and twin bouffant-topped, gogoing chanteuses Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson nearly equaling the giddy highs of their debut. From the riotous "Party Out of Bounds" and "Devil in My Car" to the ahead-of-the curve couch potato classic, "Private Idaho" to the ever-kitschy "Strobe Light" and the other-worldly "53 Miles West of Venus," this collection proved the B-52s were no flash in the lava lamp. --Billy Altman