The follow up to the phenomenally successful debut album was an even better effort from the B-52s released in the fall of 1980. Though it lacked a breakout blockbuster song like "Rock Lobster", their second LP was more solid and consistent and contained no "throw-away" tracks like "Downtown".
"Party Out of Bounds" opens with the sound of breaking glass and lets us know the B's are back in town and ready to party. Kate hoots her way through the track while Cindy asks "Where's the punch?" with just the right amount of blase in her tone, and Fred explains the chaos that happens when party crashers descend upon your house.
"Dirty Back Road" is a rather low-key change-of-pace offering and is surprisingly my favorite track on the whole album. Kate and Cindy's vocals blend perfectly together like milk and honey while the cleverly suggestive lyrics seem to refer to "back-door" sex.
"Running Around" features amazing guitar work from the late Ricky Wilson and is the kind of retro-pop '60s music that seems to have inspired the Austin Powers franchise, et al.
"Give Me Back My Man" has Cindy on lead with a slightly ominous bassline and ends with her anguished wails accompanied by hypnotic chimes.
"Private Idaho" kicks off what was Side 2 in the old days of vinyl and is probably the second best track. From Kate's hooty opening to the Twilight-Zone inspired riff right before the chorus, to Ricky's surf-rock guitar licks right after, Keith's machine-gun drumming and Cindy's "I-I-I-da-ho", this song's a winner and will stay in your head for days.
"Devil In My Car" is another rowdy number but not one of my favorites.
"Quiche Lorraine" is Fred's hilarious mid-tempo tale of a fickle poodle who deserts it's owner for a Great Dane. The lyrics are ridiculous but they help make the song as memorable and good as it is.
"Strobe Light" is another rousing track that will stay with you for days. It has a memorable start-and-stop structure, and call-and-response between Fred and the girls.
"53 Miles West of Venus" is perhaps the weakest track but still enjoyable in its own right and an effective closer. It has the same celestial vibe as "Planet Claire" but isn't quite as spooky or innovative.
This is the perfect party CD for anyone over 40, or one you should pop in your car to make any road trip enjoyable.
While I also recommend the "yellow" album that preceded this one, the "red" album will always be my favorite from this amazing Atlanta quintet.
on March 13, 2004
Lots of bands suffer from the legendary "sophomore slump." The B-52's were no exception: WILD PLANET seems quite tame in comparison to their legendary, self-titled debut. Even so, the release offers several truly memorable B-52's classics--you'll just have to work a bit harder to get at them.
The big number here is "Private Idaho," and it stands alongside the absolute best of the band, a sharp and crackly piece with sardonic lyrics, a driving tempo, and a wicked sense of humor. "Party Out of Bounds" and "Devil in My Car" aren't quite in the same league, but they're still good enough to spin your head around. But the rest of the selections don't quite manage to cross the line into manic B-52's country.
"Dirty Back Road" and "Runnin' Around" are well done but not actually very memorable--and indeed, as I sit here fresh from the recordings I can barely call either of them to mind. "Give Me Back My Man," "Strobe Light," and "53 Miles West of Venus" seem to be slightly lesser reincarnations of cuts from the debut album, and while the notorious "Quiche Lorraine" starts well it overplays into pure silliness without ever finding the cutting quality for which The B-52's were and are so famous.
Listening to WILD PLANET today, it seems to me that the problem was less with the band than it was with management. The debut album got lots of critical attention and became a cult-smash, but then as now it proved too edgy for the sort of airplay that translated into big bucks with the buying public. I can almost hear the money men saying "Oh, that's fine--but if you'd only just..." and in the process tampering with the very thing that made the B-52's so memorable in the first place: their complete originality. Fans will enjoy this particular recording, but when everything is said and done its neither edgy enough nor pop enough to rank with the band's best.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
on April 19, 2003
Does it get any better than the The B-52s' 1980 follow up of their classic debut? ... From the frantic opening track, PARTY OUT OF BOUNDS, to the trance inducing closer, 53 MILES WEST OF VENUS, WILD PLANET is one party that just doesn't quit. The band comes up aces on this one by deftly blending rock, disco, new-wave and punk into their own unique high octane cocktail.
Gems are truly across the board on this outing. DIRTY BACK ROAD is a perfect ditty that features a Kate and Cindy harmony in front of a snaky rythmn courtesy of Ricky Wilson's genius guitar and Keith Strickland's rock steady beat. RUNNIN' AROUND has all the urgency and drama that only frontman Fred Schnieder can serve up and gives the tune a raw punky feel to it. Other highlights are the hilarious ...STROBELIGHT and the Twilight Zone borrowed, forever hip, PRIVATE IDAHO.
One of the biggest gems among all these diamonds, however, is the Cindy Wilson showcase, GIVE ME BACK MY MAN. On this track the band truly shines. Cindy's vocals run an admirably wide gamut between seduction and desperation while Kate Pierson's keyboard bass solidly anchors a tune that could only be described as a ballad from Neptune.
So do yourself a favor and hijack a rocketship and get to WILD PLANET. It's the best party you've never been to.
on March 31, 2003
If you have a killer sound system in your car, "Wild Planet" is an absolute must have CD. Every tune on here is a classic. I can't imagine how life would be without all of the enjoyment this record has given me since it was released in 1980. The hypnotic and gorgeous Dirty Back Road,(Like a road...you ride me). The manic Party Out Of Bounds(crashers getting bombed), the heart-breaking cries and the James Bond riffs on Give Me Back My Man(I'll give you fish, I'll give you candy...I'll give you everything I have in my hand!). Fred's impassioned pleas on Runnin' Around(You've got me chasing rainbows in the mud, in the windows over walls, to the beauty parlor at the mall!). 53 Miles West Of Venus will put you in a dance trance along with Private Idaho, etc...all. You have never heard an electric guitar played like this before by the late Ricky Wilson(Cindy's brother). There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Ricky was a musical genius way ahead of his time. Cindy and Kate's milk and honey harmonies, Keith's tribal, kick ass drums and Fred's...well, there is no one else like him in the world!
Obviously God had a plan when he brought these five spirits from outer space together to make this beautiful music. Crank up this album and you will never be the same!
on January 7, 2003
Someone said this CD was a Masterpiece--my sentiments exactly except that the description was already taken. I love music that is creative and fresh. Genre is less important to me as I feel that creativity has no bounds of genre. But this CD ranks as one of my all time favs. This CD is a MUST HAVE for anyone interested in a truly creative piece of work.
Daniel J. Hamlow's review of this CD goes through song by song and he does a great job. His review was what made me break down and buy this CD. And I could not agree more with what he says. But I have to add onto his review that "Private Idaho" has got to be one of the most original titles ever recorded. Right up there with Rock Lobster, and probably beyond.
Private Idaho is, to the best of my discernment, about a potato that falls into a swimming pool, despite warnings from the band to "Stay off the patio!" since it leads onto the pool. I must have listened to this song 100 times since buying the CD a couple of weeks ago, and it never gets old.
Now the other song on here that I can't get enough of is "Strobe Light." Fred makes the momentous announcement that he has something to tell his baby. And his baby (Cindy) doesn't seem all that enthused "Oh... what.." But the next thing you know, the both of them are jamming on.. talking about strobe lights and pineapples! Really fast paced, jamming that you just gotta listen to a few times before you "get it." These guys are gonna get you moving no matter what!
The B52's were ahead of their time. Thank goodness they came along or we'd still likely be listening to the Bee Gees. These guys say, "It's ok to be different!" and this CD is testament to that concept. The music on this CD is timeless, always fresh, always upbeat, always off-beat and frankly, just puts me in a good mood and makes me happy to listen to.
on June 18, 2002
Well, chalk up another planet in Star System B-52 (the first one was Planet Claire). The second planet after Claire is Wild Planet, and also the second album by the Athens, GA (then) quintet. On their second go-around, the B-52's still have the punchy, kitschy/positive/optimistic surf guitar sound and attitude that made their debut an unqualified hit.
Here's my piece in describing Wild Planet's nine satellites. Fred Schneider's "Surprise!" is the first word of "Party Out Of Bounds." Kate and Cindy then ask for the ice box and punch, and there's the party started, right there. "Private Idaho" is Wild Planet's "Rock Lobster," being Wild Planet's most well-known track. Ricky Wilson's guitar keeps the pace. "You're living in your own private Idaho/On a ground like a wild potato." This is another on the short list for a party mix-tape should "Rock Lobster" not be available for any reason.
For sheer jamming, nothing beats "Devil In My Car" and "Strobe Light." The first is a funny song on a car possessed by the devil. The saying "Drive like hell and you will get there" comes to mind. Anyway, the hapless narrator can't lock the door, or put on my safety belt and is going 90 mph. He thus cries out "Help! The devil's in my car!" The humor's very kitschy, with devilish motifs such as "I don't wanna go to hell" and "I don't need no batteries/I've got the devil in my car."
"Strobe Light" is a seduction number, focusing on making love under the title appliance. No one sings about kissing body parts and responding to the same as Fred and the girls, respectively. When he gets to a very personal part of his date's body, he uses a euphemism that's the same as a certain large fruit. A shrill synthesizer blasts in response.
"Quiche Lorraine" deserves mention here, about a man and his dog, Quiche the poodle. The dog runs away after a German Shepherd, leaving the man broken-hearted and vindictive for being abandoned. In addition to backing vocals, Kate or Cindy provides Quiche's sharp barks. Given the description of Quiche, whose body is dyed dark green, who is two inches tall with a strawberry blonde ball, sunglasses and a bonnet, and designer jeans with appliques on, I wonder, isn't that dog somewhat overdressed? Sounds like an SPCA case to me, but at least the song's funny.
"53 Miles West Of Venus" is another one of their space songs. The lyrics are very simple--you figure it out. Hmm, I wonder if that's the hyperspatial wormhole distance between Wild Planet and Venus.
With the exception of the mid-paced "Dirty Back Road," the pace doesn't let up.
on August 4, 2003
The dog runs away after a German Shepherd, leaving the man broken-hearted and vindictive for being abandoned
I started with this, for it is mentioned in an earlier review. I fealt a need to correct it. It's actually a Great Dane, not a German Shepherd... from the song "Quiche Lorraine." It goes "Oh no, here comes a Great Dane, trotting down the lane...etc." Anyhow, other than that, mostly what has been written about how great the album is, I agree with. I was 10 when they first came out with their debut, and I bought all their albums through the release of "Whammy." Soon after that, I became enthralled with Metal, but B-52s and Devo have always been enjoyable for me. To be honest, I wasn't too much into "Love Shack," however. This (Wild Planet) album is, I believe, every bit as good as their first.
on August 23, 1998
Conventional wisdom claims that the B-52's debut release was their best, and while it certainly was a vivid departure from what was coming out at the time, in terms of sheer dancability, "Wild Planet" is the CD to own. From the dance-'til-you-drop opener "Party Out Of Bounds" to the sheer lunacy of "Quiche Lorraine" ("Has anybody seen/a dog dyed dark green/about two inches tall/with strawberry blonde paws") And "Strobe Light" ("First I'm gonna kiss your eyes (ooh)/then I'm gonna kiss your neck (oh)/then I'm gonna kiss your thighs (ahh)/then I'm gonna kiss your PINEAPPLES (OOOOWAAAAAAAA!)"), it's non-stop kinetic energy. Make sure you clear the furniture and put on yer dancin' shoes before you slide it in the CD player-if you can't dance to this, you're dead!
on June 3, 2002
In my collection of 545 CD's I have all the musical styles. From Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Armstrong, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Joy Division, The Velvet Underground, Aerosmith, The Doors, R.E.M., U2, Depeche Mode, Morphine, Massive Attack, Sade, Dire Straits, Pavarotti, Mozart, Schubert, The Eagles, Bob Marley, Leonard Cohen, etc, etc.
We're talkin'about "Wild Planet" that ranks at number 5 in my collection's TOP 40. A genuine work by one of the greatest bands ever (they're not only a party-band, but also a great alternative pop act). Their creative peak. A MASTERPIECE to stand among all the people who collect and (above all) realy love to listen to great Music.
on May 8, 2000
Emerging from the rubble of the disco era were the B-52s, a unique dance/punk group out of Athens, Georgia. With the beehive hairdos, cheezy Farfisa organ, the punk-rap-schtick delivery of front man Fred Schneider, the B-52s were/are a refreshing change of pace from the robotic disco beat.
20 years later, "Wild Planet" is still a joyful mix of party/dance tunes. Personal favorites - "Quiche Lorraine" (about a dyed-dark-green 2-inch poodle), party song "Strobe Light," space epic "53 Miles West of Venus," and the manic, immortal "Private Idaho." (As the official song of the "Idaho Steelheads" hockey team, it still gets much airplay, at least in these parts.) 34:52 of music.