Friday Night Dance Party

It’s January.  January.  The worst month of the year, which is then followed by the second worst month of the year — February.

Oy.  That’s a tough go.

At times like these we need cheer wherever we can find it.  We’ve usually put the weekends aside for Frye-related videos of some sort, but dark times call for, oh, I dunno, a Hawaiian themed party with Twister, drinking games and tequila body shots!

And just who would you want providing the music for such a party?  Why, only a self-described “tacky little dance band from Athens, Georgia” is who!  The one and only B52s.

The video above represents the apex of their commercial success, and the message, appropriately enough, is love.

For those who prefer their B52s a little less cute and cuddly, who remember how genuinely weird they were when they first broke onto the scene, there are some goodies for you after the jump.  Selected for maximum Frye-relevancy.

If you’re a student of archetypes, where will you not be living?  In your “Own Private Idaho,” that’s where, um, not.  (Can someone post on the archetypal elements of this particular song?  I-rony!)

And then there’s “Rock Lobster,” the musical equivalent of getting drunk on vermouth in the middle of the afternoon.  Yeah, it’s one of those so-so montage videos, but hang on till the halfway mark where you get to see the band perform the song’s terrific slambam finish.  (Note that the late, great Ricky Wilson –on the right, playing guitar — is nonchalantly wearing a homemade Star Trek uniform, long before it became fashionable.)

The opening two tracks — “Planet Claire” and “52 Girls” — from the band’s groundbreaking debut album.  To this day, I remember the first instant I heard them: 1979, Star Records (at the corner of King and James, Hamilton, just upstairs from The Smoke Shop, both now long gone).  I walked in, the album was playing, and it was like finding myself at the drive-in watching a 1950s sci-fi movie on acid:

Planet Claire has pink air,

All the trees are red.

No one ever dies there.

No one has a head.

As Frye observes of fantasy, one eventually begins to pick up the acrid scent of satire.

Bonus Dance Track: “Mesopotamia” (produced by David Byrne, onetime resident of Hamilton, Ontario, believe it or not).

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