Good Stuff [single]

The B-52’s

1992: Reprise 40561-2

  1. Good Stuff Album Edit
  2. Good Stuff 12" Remix by Ben Grosse
  3. Bad Influence Album Version
  4. Good Stuff Schottische Mix by Moby for MCT
  5. Good Stuff Remix Edit

This was originally a barter-result from a housemate, but I’ve happily kept it ever since. While the “Schottische” mix is amusing but repetitive, a one-joke exercise that doesn’t develop at all, the full 12" mix is what I love best, probably because it gave me a clear presentation of the least-obvious chordal element of the chorus. When you can hear all three vocal parts interweaving as they do so playfully and recognize each of them, it becomes something much more exuberantly joyful than the initial impression even hints at, in my mind. Also, while the tone of the remix is considerably beefier in terms of percussion and electronic elements, resulting in a slicker & hotter sound than the original has, it neither replaces nor betrays the album version…it’s just a little more amplified and exaggerated.

I love the vocal arrangement of that chorus, by the way…it’s almost nodding to The Mamas And The Papas but still with a B-52’s spin, all the elements of the chords mingling and pairing in odd twists that result in a melodic Slip-N-Slide of sheer fun. I suppose the benefit of having this single is that it celebrates that vocal interplay at greater length and lets one appreciate its individual elements from different perspectives. And, while I’m on the subject of the distinct chorus harmonies, WHO is providing that middle one, or is it Fred’s voice sped up a bit??? It gets a solo airing here, so you can hear that something’s odd about it if you really scrutinize it, but in any case it’s a yummy element in that undulating vocal sandwich. (An undulating sandwich??? What WAS I thinking when I wrote that?)

It’s so easy to get used to the speed of B-52’s songs that you don’t even think of tracks like “Good Stuff” as being fast at all, yet it truly does zip along under all the unhurried-sounding vocals. I realized this when I used Windows Media Player’s “play speed” settings to run the track at half-speed so I could study a bit of quick harmony; after listening to the bit in question several times and answering my question, I played that bit again at regular speed and was actually startled by how fast they’re going with it all.

“Good Stuff” isn’t another “Rock Lobster,” nor even a “Love Shack,” but it’s fun and delivers a well-pumped treat that romps effortlessly between major and minor chords left and right.