Friday, June 9, 2006

“Whammy Kiss” by the B-52’s from the album WHAMMY!
4th week in May, 1983

nowhammiesb52s.jpg“I need your kiss”

I must have been eight or nine the first time I heard the B-52’s. I think it was “Rock Lobster.” I was so confused. All I could think was, “why do these guys want to suck so much?” I didn’t understand. I thought music was supposed to sound pleasant like Billy Joel or the Beatles or the Banana Splits. But even though I didn’t understand, I did get one thing right: they were trying to suck. No one embraces mediocrity like the B-52’s. And I’m not talking about embracing a Coldplay-middle-of-the-road-pleasant mediocrity. I mean flaunting your limitations. The B-52’s are a guy with a two-inch prick dropping his pants in front of Madonna and proclaiming, “Look out, Momma. I’ll rock your world.” I own no B-52’s albums and I don’t think I ever will because how often can one feel like listening to a leather-bar maître d’ speak/sing over the sound of tortured chipmunks? Ironically though, I confess, if nothing else but for heir sheer audacity, I love, love, love the B52s. By not caring if they were cool or straight or even particularly talented, the B-52’s created some of the coolest, gutsiest and most brilliant pop in the history of instantly disposable music.

“Whammy Kiss” is a good example. If you cruise the internet you’ll see many folks hailing “Whammy Kiss” as a bold move into electronica. They proclaim the B-52’s as visionaries, way ahead of their time. The bold experimentation and rebellious spirit of these misfits from down south. True, but isn’t it obvious that the B-52’s would embrace computer loops and keyboard programming? They can’t play their instruments. When they saw this technology they didn’t say, “we must honor our commitment to experimentation and apply this new tool to create groundbreaking pop.” They said, “cool, now we don’t have to worry about keeping time or learning chords. Hey, Fred, do you think you could sing something catchy and vaguely gay over this two chord progression I programmed?” And he did. And it was good. Because he is Fred Schneider.

As much as we love the harmonies and the hair, the B-52’s is Fred Schneider. No one has come up with more wonderful lyrics that say nothing. It’s the delivery. The man is a genius. Don’t believe me? Try these lyrics on for size:

“Come on mammy and throw me that whammy.” That’s right. He rhymed mammy with whammy. You try that. On second thought, you better not. That’s too much kitsch for a mere mortal. Genius.

Best Part: “Come on mammy and throw me that whammy.”


The Elephant and I The relationship between the elephant and me has been deriorating for some time now. Though he would have you believe otherwise, my growing distaste for the bastard has nothing to do with him being an elephant and a large one...
Do I Smell Something Burning? Elizabeth Koch burns down the house.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



RSD | RSS I | RSS II | Atøm | Spanish









From the Y.P.aRchives


Fun, Fickle Fiction (for Free!)
Fact, Opinion, Essay, & Review
Poetry & Lyric
Advice, How To, & Self-Help


Spectacular Features, Calendrical Happenings, Media Gadflies
Media Gadflies
Calendrical Happenings
The Book Club


Semi-Frequent Columns
Letter from the Editors
Disquieting Modern Trends


Interviews with Interviewers
One-Question Interviews


Correspondence (Letters To and Letters From) Letters from Y.P.R. Letters to Y.P.R. Birthday Cards to Celebrities


The Y.P.aRt Gallery Illustrious Illustration Photography Photomontage Graphic Design Logo Gallery


Pop Stars in Hotel Rooms Shreek of the Week of the Day What's Up with That? Fuit Salad Nick's Guff Vermont Girl The M_methicist Daily Garfield Digest Polish Facts: An Antidote to the Polish Joke


New & Noteworthy Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera


Contributors' Notes


The Y.P.aRchives

This journal is powered by Movable Typo 4.01.

Y.P.R. & Co.