Our favourite retro-hipsters — and the only band to make Hawaiian shirts look at least kinda fashionable — The B52s have been doing it for more than thirty years, and they’re still writing great pop music. And we’re not surprised given the rather old-school Secret Playlist that Kate Pierson [first six songs] and Keith Strickland have assembled below.
Jane Siberry / Bound By the Beauty
Jane Siberry changed her name to Issa, sold her home and most of her possessions (although she owns a pair of fabulous boots), and sells her music — digitally only, to cut down on plastic waste — by a self-determined pricing policy. She’s an incredible, profound songwriter and singer, and is doing it her way, for sure.
Joni Mitchell / A Case Of You
I had her very first album when I was a kid and had my own folk-protest band, The Sun Doughnuts. She was a huge inspiration, and her open tunings were a real influence on Ricky Wilson’s guitar playing.
Chic / Le Freak
This song contains my favorite Nile Rogers line: ‘clams on the half-shell, and roller skate, roller skate’. Check out Nile Rogers’ WeAreFamilyFoundation.org, promoting peace and tolerance. It’s just what we need right now.
Kraftwerk / Trans-Europe Express
They are so innovative and it’s a rare treat to see them live — with real robots! Ricky, Keith and I were on Ricky’s sailboat on Lake Lanier during a lightning storm and we had this song blasting on the boombox as we sailed like the wind to get back to shore. It was very exci-tatious!
Komeda / It’s Alright, Baby
You just need to check out this poppy band from Denmark. There’s not much that can be said about them.
The Patti Smith Group / Pumping
This song has everything I love about Patti Smith and her group: it’s exhilarating, intoxicating and transcendent. When our band was starting out in Athens, Georgia, this song gave me the feeling that the possibilities were infinite.
The Stooges / 1969
In the fall of 1969, I was 16 and started attending a new school where I knew no one. My parents had one of those big stereo consoles and I would put on 1969 and play it as loud as possible and sing into a make-believe microphone while flailing myself across the living room floor. The Stooges articulated perfectly my teenage frustrations, alienation and boredom. Teenage angst was never more fun.