The B-52's "Cosmic Thing" Review
By: Evan Ferstl
After three eclectic albums that mixed elements of new wave, punk, and surf rock, the B-52’s had established themselves as cult mainstays of the 1980s, unafraid of coming across as frivolous, ridiculous party-lovers. However, tragedy would strike the band when guitarist Ricky Wilson, a centerpiece of the band’s driving sound, passed away. The remaining members finished their fourth album, but, devastated by their loss, did not tour to promote it and went into hiatus. It was questionable whether the band would ever record again.
However, by the end of the decade, the band had reformed and recorded new material. The result, 1989’s “Cosmic Thing,” included the singles “Love Shack” and “Roam,” propelling them to mainstream success and a larger audience than ever.
Even in the face of tragedy, the band stays true to form on the album with up-tempo songs about traveling the world, falling in love, and enjoying time spent together. That being said, the album does signify a shift in style, as Keith Strickland’s guitar work is more restrained and pop-oriented than Wilson’s. However, the band manages to pull it off. The iconic vocal dynamic between Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, and Fred Schneider is more captivating than ever, and the hooks and choruses are memorable and even beautiful. Admirably, all of the band members sound like they’re enjoying themselves even after all the pain of the last few years. “Cosmic Thing” is an album that celebrates life, inviting the listener to bask in the fun and adventure that make it worth living.