· By Tarleton Walmsley
One night, after a round of Flaming Volcano cocktails, a little band called The B-52s was born in Athens, GA. I've been revisiting the full catalog of America's Greatest Party Band lately, and I'm beginning to see that my obsession with Cindy Wilson (vocals) and Katie Pierson (keyboardist and vocals), runs deep.
My obsession probably started when I was kid, watching the "Love Shack" video on MTV with such an intense feeling that I wanted to be friends with the two women in the band. Like...wow. They clearly know how to have fun and look weird and cool doing it.
And as much as I love the music, it is because of Cindy and Kate's fashion sense that I became entranced. The intersection of 60s mod dresses and vintage tulle with bouffants, beehives, and wigs made from faux fur purses with music about rock lobsters and love shacks is, quite frankly, iconic. Cosmic, even. I imagine Cindy and Kate would be the ultimate pair to go thrift shopping with. I would definitely let them give me a makeover, and if we had them over, maybe we could try on wigs and just generally ~vibe~ together. ANYWAY.
Cindy and Kate's songwriting and vocal contributions were clearly important in creating the quintessential B-52s sound--nostalgic New Wave Punk Dance Party music. My favorite song, "52 Girls," is an example of how energetic and empowered Cindy and Kate's vocals are. And all they're doing is listing out names of women. I also think they're incredible storytellers. I recently came across this podcast episode that is a must. Listening to Kate describe how the band started, what their first show was like, and how they came up with their outfits is such a pleasure to listen to. And if you want even more, please allow me to suggest this article in which Kate breaks down the meaning of some of her favorite B-52s songs.
I can't wait until we're able to have parties again, and I solemnly promise that if I could throw a giant After Covid Party and afford to pay the B-52s to play, I would. Just so you know.