Since their formation back in 1977, the Athens, GA-based The B-52s, their founding (and surviving members) Fred Schneider (vocals), Kate Pierson (vocals, keys), Cindy Wilson (vocals) and Keith Strickland (drums, rhythm guitar) have developed a reputation for an approach that draws from 60s garage rock, New Wave, post-punk and dance music, complete with the guy vs. gal, call and response vocals. Much ink has been spilled on them, so it won’t be very necessary to delve deeply into biographical detail; however, over the past few years, Cindy Wilson has embarked on a solo recording career that has managed to be an almost complete departure from her primary gig’s imitable and influential sound; in fact, earlier this year, I wrote about “Ballistic” off her Supernatural EP a single, which revealed that as a solo artist, her sound nodded at much more contemporary sources — i.e., the anthemic and trippy electro pop of Gary Numan, Tame Impala, Air and punk pop, complete with pulsating synths.
Much like the Supernatural EP, Wilson’s forthcoming full-length, solo debut Change was produced and engineered by PacificUV’s and Dream Boat‘s Sun Lyons, and continues her collaboration with some of Athens’ finest and most acclaimed, contemporary, young musicians including Easter Island‘s and Monahan’s Ryan Monahan, Ola Moon‘s and PacificUV’s Lemuel Hayes, and powerkompany’s Marie Davon. Change‘s first single “Mystic” continues on a similar vibe as “Ballistic,” as the song is an icy retro-futuristic, dance floor-friendly blast of synth rock/New Wave that features Wilson crooning and cooing seductively, rather than her world-renowned belting and shouting from the mountains. And in some way, the material finds the New Wave/post-punk legend at her most mischievous and adventurous, as she pushes her sound into a new territory — while being a sincere and earnest exploration of contemporary sound and songwriting.
As Wilson explained to the folks at Stereogum, “‘Mystic’ was actually one of the last tracks recorded for the LP. It quickly became one of the band’s favorites and maintains its energy on the road. Lyrically, it’s about our personalities — how we’re all multi-dimensional in ways that we will never understand. We all have a hidden mystic quality if we can learn and trust to tap into that power. This song is about how we’re all trying to define ourselves and make sense of ourselves, yet there is an ineffable, indescribable quality to consciousness.”