"Roam" became the B-52's' second straight number three single, and for good reason -- while it may not be as unabashedly silly and infectious as "Love Shack," it is a well-crafted and irresistible pop song, highlighted by terrific vocals from Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson. As was the tradition of any major-label single from the late '80s, "Roam" was issued in a variety of formats. The basic format was the 7" and cassette single, which featured an edit of the title track and the Cosmic Thing album track "Bushfire" as the flipside. For the American CD-5 single, "Bushfire" was kept as the B-side, and the following versions of "Roam" were showcased: the "7" remix" (different and longer than the single edit), the "radio mix," the "12" remix," the "extended remix," and "the instrumental." All but the "extended remix" and "instrumental" were on the American 12" single. In the U.K., "Roam" was issued as a 7" single, cassette single, and CD single featuring the edit of "Roam" and live versions of "Whammy Kiss" and "Dance This Mess Around" from 1989; this version was also released as a CD single in France. It was also released as a 12" single (with a nifty 3-D sleeve) featuring the "radio mix," the "12" remix," and "extended remix." And, maybe just to confuse things a little bit more, the single was released one more time as a CD promo single in the U.S., featuring the original LP version and the single edit. All these permutations are naturally of considerable interest to hardcore collectors, but those less dedicated should know this: the U.S. CD single offers the most music for the money, but the U.K. CD single is actually a more entertaining listen. Then again, they could just choose to stick with "Roam" either on Cosmic Thing or one of the hits collections.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine