This Album Changed My Life: The B-52's - The B-52's (1979)

Manchester musician Kiran Leonard on how the new wave classic is great music for kids

Kiran Leonard: Parents of the world: do not bore your poor children with Mozart! This is the real stuff. Photograph: Manox

Kiran Leonard: Parents of the world: do not bore your poor children with Mozart! This is the real stuff. Photograph: Manox

 

My mum used to play this in the car when she took me and my sister up to Lancaster to see my grandma. When you think about it, once you take out all the songs about, eh-hem, “intimate relations”, the B-52’s make great kids’ music. It’s unpretentious, and full of colour and dynamism. I still think all the vivid, nonsensical stories, the peculiar textures – three lead singers, toy pianos, bright, monophonic synth lines – are great stimulants for children’s imagination. Parents of the world: do not bore your poor children with Mozart! This is the real stuff.

As I got older I paid much more attention to Ricky Wilson’s guitar playing. Four strings, zero chaff; like the 1950s and the 2050s at once.

Whenever Dance this Mess Around came on in the car, we’d ask Mum: “What is a limburger?” I thought for a while the singer was maybe saying “limb burger” – like, she’s ready to boogie, but they’ve left poor Kate immobile and friendless on the dance floor. Later, I would learn that it’s a thick kind of cheese that is popular in Belgium. So, in a sense, I wasn’t far off.

Kiran Leonard’s newest album, Western Culture, was released October 19th on Moshi Moshi

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