Cindy Wilson – Change (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 38:04 minutes | 336 MB | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Kill Rock Stars
Known the world over as a vocalist, songwriter, and founding member of the one and only B-52s, Cindy Wilson has made a truly extraordinary solo debut with her new CHANGE (Kill Rock Stars). The album – which arrives just in time to celebrate the legendary singer’s fortieth anniversary in the musical spotlight – marks a milestone for Wilson, abounding with pop creativity, ingenious production, confident songcraft, and deeply felt emotion.
“This music is beautiful,” she says. “And I love beautiful.”
CHANGE began for Wilson nearly a decade ago upon her part-time return to her hometown of Athens, GA. She first encountered local musician Ryan Monahan when his Beatles tribute band was hired to play her son’s birthday party – “One of the best parties ever,” says Wilson. The veteran vocalist and talented young musician began teaming up for gigs, beginning with R.E.M.’s star-studded 30th anniversary event.
“Ryan and drummer Lemuel Hayes and I put together a few songs and it was fantastic,” Wilson says. “That started our own musical relationship.”
Wilson and her new bandmates continued performing together, first playing classic garage and psychedelic covers but ultimately deciding to create new music all their own. They hit the studio in 2014, with local producer-musician Suny Lyons manning the board. The songs and sonic concepts flowed like the Broad River, leading Wilson to invite Lyons to join her fast developing combo.
Change is certainly an apt title for Cindy Wilson’s first solo album. For nearly 40 years, Wilson has been singing with the B-52’s, and their bouncy, upbeat sound — and the distinctive vocal blend of Wilson and Kate Pierson — has been her musical signature. But in 2016, Wilson released her first solo EP, and 2017’s Change follows suit in mapping out a very different creative direction for her. Change walks away from the dance-friendly new wave attack of the B-52’s; instead, with producers and co-songwriters Suny Lyons and Ryan Monahan, Wilson has opted for a cool, low-key sound dominated by electronics and clean guitars (though the band rocks out decisively on “Brother”). The arrangements mesh ambient synth patches with a subtle but insistent pulse, sometimes programmed and sometimes organic, and Wilson’s vocals are breathy and thoughtful, meditating on her life and the world around her rather than getting the party started. This is music you could dance to, but you’d probably feel more comfortable swaying gently to the tracks, or simply listening attentively. In both theme and approach, Change is a 180-degree turn from the musical persona Wilson has presented since the late ’70s, and it’s pleasantly surprising that it works so well. Her whispery vocals are a big switch from her trademark technique, but she sounds smart and emotionally forthcoming on these tunes, speaking from the heart as she sings about love, family, loss, and life’s many challenges with maturity and a quiet strength that make room for vulnerability. While the B-52’s belatedly embraced electronics on 2008’s Funplex, Change finds Wilson doing the same, but from a decidedly different vantage point, and it fits her beautifully; it’s a successful musical reinvention that presents her talent in a whole new light. – Mark Deming
1. People Are Asking (03:33)
2. Stand Back Time (04:23)
3. No One Can Tell You (03:40)
4. Change (03:12)
5. Mystic (03:42)
6. Things I’d Like to Say (05:00)
7. Sunrise (03:27)
8. On the Inside (04:31)
9. Brother (02:53)
10. Memory (03:43)