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NEW B-52's - Bouncing Off The Satellites (CD)

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 72.94
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • ASIN: B000002LAK
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,383 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Format: Audio CD
The B-52's had been through a lot between the release of 1983's "Whammy" and the 1986 release of "Bouncing Off the Satellites." The musical climate had changed since they first came on to the scene in the late 70's with their quirky blend of sci-fi madness and new wave party anthems. It had also been 3 full years between albums. And the members' personal relationships with one another seemed to be coming apart at the seams. But sending things into even further disarray was the death of founding member and multi-instrumentalist Ricky Wilson in 1985. To make things even worse, "Bouncing Off the Satellites" was a commercial disaster, and it would be ANOTHER three years before the band would make an amazing comeback with the multi-platinum, hit-filled "Cosmic Thing."
Perhaps because of Wilson's battle with AIDS during the making of the album, "Bouncing Off the Satellites" is considerably more downbeat than its predecessors. "Summer of Love" (which was actually a top-10 dance hit) manages to be dark and upbeat at the same time, while Wilson's sister Cindy does her best Patsy Cline impersonation on the ballad (!) "Ain't it a Shame." "She Brakes for Rainbows," the closing track and one of the album's highlights, also leans toward the melancholy (it's also an absolutely gorgeous tune.)
There was much criticism of producer Tony Mansfield's synth-filled arrangements on "Bouncing Off the Satellites." Granted, the heavy synthetics sometimes added unnecessary weight to the songs, and the album as a whole lacks focus because the band members worked on their own individual tracks (only 4 songs include all 5 band members.
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By A Customer on Nov. 2 1999
Format: Audio CD
The B-52's were definitely at a crossroads during the making of this album. One of their founding members died, and their brand of down-home new wave dance music with a sense of humor had pretty much run its course with the public in general. The outcome - "Bouncing Off The Satellites" became their worst selling album by far. And it deserved better.
The album was highly criticized at the time for it's use of the Fairlight and its glossy, synthetic production by Tony Mansfield. The band also suffered the loss of multi-instrumentalist and key songwriter Ricky Wilson (brother of vocalist Cindy), which sent the recording sessions into complete disarray. Because of this, "Bouncing Off The Satellites" has a bittersweet, melancholy sound....but that's not to say there isn't fun to be had! The wacky "Wig," the exotic "Theme for a Nude Beach" and "Detour Thru Your Mind" are upbeat and fun, "Summer of Love" was a top-ten dance hit, and the album's highlight, "Girl From Ipanema Goes To Greenland," contains an impressive arrangement and an insanely catchy melody. But the B's began to explore their serious side on this release; Cindy Wilson does her best Patsy Cline impression on "Ain't it a Shame," and "She Brakes for Rainbows" is absolutely gorgeous. The only real dud is "Juicy Jungle," an overwrought ecology-themed Fred solo. But the rest of this album goes down nice and easy, and is a must for any B's fan.
Because of the devastating loss of Ricky Wilson, touring for this album was virtually impossible, and the changing musical climate at the time didn't help the album's prospects. "Summer of Love" was a huge hit on U.S. dance floors, but failed to cross over.
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Format: Audio CD
I love The B-52's and have almost all of their albums, but sadly, here, they seem to be losing their footing with this project "Bouncing Off the Satellites." Not only had their guitarist, Ricky Wilson (Cindy's brother) died, but they were just beginning to sound fresh out of ideas. I love almost every B-song I've ever heard, but here they seem like they're getting old. The lyrics of the songs sound flat and uninspired. This album is really a continuation of their underrated gem 1983 project, "Whammy!," which was excellent. They continue to have the synth and drum machine sound using sessionmen. The album has a bit of a weak opening, but is blessed with a wonderful performance by Kate Pierson on "Summer Of Love." Next, Cindy Wilson takes over in a solo called, "Girl From Ipanema Goes To Greenland." Don't get me wrong, there is some fun to be had here, like Kate Pierson's wonderfully quirky and kitschy solo, "Housework." There is also another very funny song, one of my favorites, "Wig." There's also an couple of good songs on Side 2 like "Theme For A Nude Beach," and "Juicy Jungle," penned by Fred Schneider and sung by him, a song about the destruction of the Amazon rain forests. It's easy to forgive The B-52's a screw-up because after all, a band member has died, and it seems like something missing, which shows in the uneven and uninspired, flat performances. I can easily, very, very, very easily forgive The B's for not sounding as spirited with Ricky's death, but that does not make listening to this album any more fun or much of a pleasure, either, and after a while, it gets quite boring.
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