Monday, March 24, 2008

Older rockers are actually surprising me.

Older rockers are actually surprising me.

I got the new B-52s album in the mail a few days ago and, with great trepidation, put it on the stereo. And it didn't suck! In fact, it doesn't sound like any time has passed between this album and Cosmic Thing. It's eerie. They don't fuck it up by trying to "update" their sound. Instead they just do what they're good at, and craft a bunchy of party rock songs that sound like a '50s sock-hop put through a punk blender.*

And I was listening to the new R.E.M.** last weekend and was extremely pleased to see they've rediscovered their guitars, and not the ones they broke out for Monster. No, these guitars sound like they were tuned around the time Green came out. Obviously they are moving back in the right direction.

Don't misunderstand my appreciation though, it's not built upon the premise that bands should stick with the sound that made them popular. I certainly think any band should feel entitled to deviate from formulas and explore alternate avenues. In this particular case though I think this is a fine example of two bands making surprisingly consistent and enjoyable albums late in their careers that sound simultaneously familiar and brand new.

*Also, Kate Pierson is still smokin' hot. Just had to mention that.
**You should know that the news of Michael Stipe telling Spin this month that he was gay elicited the following response from me: Wait, Stipe was still in the closet? I thought he came out a decade or two ago?

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