Why 'Dirty Back Road' by The B52's is an endless journey to satisfaction

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“Oh, don’t look back.
Don’t look behind you.
Reckless driving on
dirty back road…”

Best known for camp classics “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster”, early B52’s deep cuts could seem greyscale in comparison. “Dirty Back Road” won’t ignite any conga lines at the office party, yet this humid post-punk tribute to unprotected anal sex is one hell of a ride.

Looming over the saucy vehicular entendres is the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson from AIDS-related complications in 1985. Poignantly, his sister Cindy and Kate Pierson pickle the hedonism of the early 80’s in melodic harmonies that still smack like tequila on the tongue.

The song’s single verse-bridge-chorus structure gets two outings, fading in and out with the rumblings of roadside fauna. Far from laziness, this looping arrangement allows Ricky Wilson’s freewheeling spirit to live on, taking the listener on an endless journey to satisfaction.