Monday, October 25, 2010

“Planet Claire” - All The Trees Are Red

B-52’s founding member Fred Schneider has a brand new holiday CD called Destination . . . Christmas! coming out today from his side project The Superions. The video for "Santa's Disco" has some scary elements to it, so it might be a good time to look at an early B-52’s track that’s perfect for Halloween. Whether he's singing about Santa Claus or aliens, Schneider takes his patented wacky approach. This post originally ran as part of last year’s 31 Songs For Halloween collection.

This has been an especially busy time for discovering new planets. The more astronomers poke around outside Earth’s solar system, the more likely it is that someday they’ll find a planet with all of the essential elements to support life. Like water, methane, and carbon dioxide. One that has pink air and all the trees are red. No one ever dies there. Wait a minute, those last two lines are about Planet Claire, the fictional orb concocted by The B-52’s on their self-titled debut album.

Back in 1979, there had never been a group quite like this before. The B-52’s used oddball instrumentation, like a toy piano, a fire alarm, and a walkie talkie. And their lyrics were pure nonsense. Opening with a lengthy instrumental passage that features eerie keyboards, “Planet Claire” introduces us to an unnamed alien who came from the title planet via a Plymouth Satellite that she drives faster than the speed of light. Like all Clairelings, she doesn’t have a head, so it’s hard to imagine how she could see where she’s going. Then again, you could say the same thing about Earthlings who text while driving.

Vocalist Fred Schneider affects an appropriately silly tone throughout the song, especially when he screams, “WELL SHE ISN’T” in response to speculation that the alien is “from Mars or one of the seven stars that shine after 3:30 in the morning.” Unlike other outer space invaders, this visitor from “Planet Claire” doesn’t appear to have any evil plans. She’s been partying here on Earth for three decades at this point, and she might even be Paris Hilton’s BFF.


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