The lyrical theme of ‘6060-842’ seems pretty mundane for the B-52s. Tina goes to the ladies room, sees a phone number scrawled on the wall, and so decides to ring it. Hmm… doesn’t sound like it’s gonna be a tale the measure of “the time our car was hijacked by the devil” and the like. Still this IS the B-52s, and recognisably so, “if you’d like a very nice time, just give this number a call” reads the unlikely graffiti. So something must happen. The band are optimistic too, bouncing along excitedly on a jumpy new wave rhythm. Tina, we reckon, is much like the band. She lives for wild parties and crazy adventures. This 6060-842 could be just the ticket. “Oh my gawd! I’m gonna give that there number a ring. You see if I don’t!” So she drops a dime in the phone slot and, “prays she gets the line.” She’s biting her lip, stabbing her nails into her finger tips, “come on… come ON!!!”
But pause a moment. Is she really so naïve? Does she really think a “really nice time” awaits her? In the gnarled and weather beaten hands of a social realist singer-songwriter, the number 6060-842 would lead to abuse, to prostitution, and ultimately, to death. In the hands of the B-52s? I don’t know, you tell me. A debauched toga party in a 1950s vision of the future…? Well, it’s neither. It’s just a brilliant anti-climax. You see Tina and the B-52a might be deranged, but the world they live in is not. It’s bloody typical. She dials 6060-842, and can’t get through! “The number’s been disconnected…” monotones the operator. But Tina won’t accept this, no, and neither will the band. They can’t end the track with Tina accepting the disappointment with a sigh of weary resignation, “ah well, nevermind… maybe next time.” No, no, this anti-climax has worked them up into an angry frenzy. Ricky Wilson vents his frustration with viscious slashes of electric guitar whilst Tina just keeps dialing and dialing, and getting rebuffed and rebuffed, “HELLO!!!” “sorry…” The track probably ends with them all smashing up the phone box. A superb, and much over-looked track.
I was utterly smitten with this track when I heard it in the film Jesus’ Son. It’s a gorgeously sentimental Philly soul-pop number with Ms Mason cooing sheepishly to her lover that she, “doesn’t even know how to kiss [his] lips… in a moment like this”, before a choir from an ancient realm of heaven peer over the scene and ask if she’s ready to learn, and she says yes she is, she’s ready, she’s ready to, “FALL IN LOVE WITH… [him]…”, and how the strings swoop and soar! For good or bad, songs will never sound like this again.
Good to see a cover of one of my favourite Free Design songs appear in 2003, especially when it's executed this good. It's very true to the original, so true it sounds almost as if the voice of Sandy Dedrick got sampled from the original version.
Great weirdofunk song, it demonstrates best aspects of the sound of the seventies turning into the eighties. The insanely catchy bloop-twang bassline was sampled by Daft Punk for HarderBetterFasterStronger, but this is a gem in its own right. Five minutes and ten seconds go by amazingly fast when i'm listening to this baby.