Album Club is an irregular series that looks back on an album that matters.
Firstly, let’s deal with “Love Shack” – the album’s second single. Sometimes a hit dwarfs an album. A song becomes so big, so ubiquitous that it swamps the album that spawned it. That’s probably the case with Cosmic Thing. Consider this a gentle reminder about how brilliant the album was.
Since its release in 1989, “Love Shack” has become inescapable – played at every indie club night, wedding and office party. Yet no matter how many times "Love Shack" plays it elicits the same reaction from almost everyone, joy. A kind of dorky joy, people casting aside their fears about being judged. No song better embodies a band. It’s about having a good time and embracing weirdness. From their very first album, The B-52’s created their own world. “Love Shack” was our invitation to finally join them.
The album also produced the band’s other biggest hit. The mighty “Roam”. Charting at number-three, the track was an opportunity for Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson to shine. It’s also a phenomenally well produced record, no surprise as production duties were carried out by Nile Rodgers. Rodgers produced six of the album’s tracks including the title track. He took the bands quirk, their spirt and channelling it into a chart friendly sound. Don Was produced four of the album’s tracks including: “Love Shack” and the album’s lead single “Channel Z”.
Cosmic Thing served as a comeback for the band following the death of Ricky Wilson in 1985 but this isn’t a record about pain. The B-52’s have never been an introspective band. They were inclusive, they wanted you to join in and to feel a part of something – nobody was left behind. I first came across the album as a child and its exuberance has stuck with me. In spite of everything the band went through in the years before, Cosmic Thing was and remains the ultimate party record.