<!– Link: NiNa
After the huge commercial success of Cosmic Thing back in 1989, the B-52’s titled its following album with the prophetic moniker Good Stuff. It didn’t live up to its name.
As unexpectedly as the B-52’s rose to international success in the early 1990s, the group just as unexpectedly disappeared from public view for the rest of the decade.
In lieu of new material from the B-52’s itself — does the greatest hits collection Time Capsule really count? — singer Kate Pierson brings the Athens, Ga., band’s trademark pop to Japan.
NiNa, a sort of Japanese supergroup/side project, features a number of high-profile members: singer Yuki from Judy and Mary, songwriter and musician Sakuma Masahide from the Plastics, plus Pierson herself.
(The group’s line-up is rounded out by Shima Takemi, billed as “conceptualist and visual agent provocateur”, and an American rhythm section of Mick Karin and Steven Wolf.)
NiNa’s first self-titled album is the album the B-52’s never recorded after Cosmic Thing. Pierson’s hippy vibe dominates the disc, from the environmentally-minded-but-silly “Hairspray” to the Day-Glo pop of “Happy Tommorow” (not to be confused with the ’60s song “Happy Together”.)
Yuki provides a raspy, ruddy foil to Pierson’s clear soprano. She’s no Cindy Wilson, and that works in her favor.
For the most part, NiNa is mostly sung in English, but Yuki throws in a number of verses in Japanese, and Pierson does a brave turn singing back-up in Japanese on “Rest in Peace.”
Would this album have been a hit in the States? Just maybe. “Aurora Tour”, “Happy Tomorrow” “Route 246” certainly share thematic and spiritual ties to “Roam”, “Deadbeat Club” and “Love Shack.”
The pricey import may strike some consumers as a bit painful in the pocketbook, but die-hard B-52’s fans would probably want to track this album down.