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Your feeling on R.E.M. is?
I like R.E.M.
64%
 64%  [ 32 ]
I haven't really heard any R.E.M. even though they've been around over 20 years - basically I live in a cave.
8%
 8%  [ 4 ]
I prefer older R.E.M. before they sold out and before Berry left.
26%
 26%  [ 13 ]
I'm a teeny bopper and I want my mommy (ga ga goo goo)!
2%
 2%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 50

Author Message
Sprocket
Vintage Newbie


Despite what the punks says, that Pylon cover is a Good Thing - I was thinking about it just this morning!
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inorbit
Laughing Citizen


Sprocket wrote:
Despite what the punks says, that Pylon cover is a Good Thing - I was thinking about it just this morning!

What do they say about it? Who? Its actually a reasonably faithful cover (probably more so on the studio version than the live one I linked.
Its a great song- and Pylon is pretty uninpugnable.


Sprocket wrote:
If an album must be fingered as the one where the tides turned, then I think Green is far more mawkish overall than Out of Time, which is clearly an album of two halfs. Green certainly had the bigger, blander sing-alongs, though it makes for a pleasant listening experience, if not exactly a challenging one.

If by big blander singalong you would include Orange Crush
I don't see that vein as out of continuity with stuff like Radio Free Europe So. Central Rain, Pretty Persuasion, Finest Work Song, etc. If anything, it is probably a bit more challenging than their prior big hit-oriented singalongs.

Out of time has a couple of tolerable songs on it;
I guess coming at it with contemporary (youthful) ears would give a different take on it...
The independent scene has recently taken a turn where everyone is slinging acoustics and trying to sound like Simon and Garfunkle, and adding mandolins and ukeleles etc is considered cool. In the context of the time though, it sounded like degenerating into boring, gooey "adult contemproary" product, and anything but challenging. going acoustic sounded self indulgent and pretentious, and mandolins, etc were typically producer gimmicks from the 70's.

Personally, I find too much of that sort of thing stultifying- it mostly all starts sound the same to my ears and I can't wait for fashion to move back to something a bit more interesting. The affected sentimentality strives to sound loaded with meaning and feeling, but doesn't actually evoke any of either. Same reason I wasn't a huge Combinations fan (but for a couple of good songs). It seems to have resulted in this weird generational inversion between X's and Y's, as in "turn it down dad, your music's too loud... and it sounds creepy...".

So I can see how Out of Time might actually sound more contemporary today than some of the earlier (to my ear more interesting) stuff.


Sprocket wrote:

For me the album only gets going just as it stops, which is a shame because 'I Remember California' is one of the most elegaic soundings songs they've written and Stipe's lyrics are often at their most evocative when he's trying to capture a sense of place.

I remember California is a masterpiece. It is exquisite. Nearly perfect. Its what saves Green, ultimately. Green does have some crap on it. But when you get through the boring hit oriented stuff, it leads off into dense psychedelic atmosphere like this. Its why I can't write off Green. There's nothing like this on Out of Time.

Sprocket wrote:

By contrast, Out of Time lurches into action with the daft and vaguely irritating 'Radio Song'. 'Losing My Religion' has been played so many times, it's easy to forget that's it's a great song, brought through by the lovely, taut, fragile mandolin.
The first side bumbles along softly and pleasingly, but then the end of the album, especially 'Texarkana' and 'Country Feedback' is on a whole other level, the later quite possibly being my favourite R.E.M. song.

I find Radio song even less listenable than Stand, and if I hear LMR one more time I'm going to break equipment. I'll give you Texarkana and Country Feedback- those are really the only points where it starts to sound like REM to me.

Sprocket wrote:

Also, for such a successful album, there is loads of their earlier dark edge on Automatic For the People. While it's remembered for 'Everybody Hurts' and 'Nightswimming', which are not bad songs in their own rights if not a little cloying, the rest of the album is spookily morbid and certainly much less immediately accessible than Green. So, I don't think it's a matter that they turned pop/ stadium rock and never looked back. Up especially is a very odd album indeed with much less direct, more esoteric lyricism representative of their early career.

After out of time, I only heard their albums in the background with one ear when they'd be on at parties and stuff. Never really gave them a chance. My sense was AFTP (but for the singles) went in a more rock-oriented direction, which wasn't really all that interesting to me either. But I admit I never really gave the album a fair listening. The singles are what I head most, and they were literally nauseating.

Sprocket wrote:

Also, Fables, which is terrific, is still the right side of murky, there are times when it sounds little short of a Joy Division album to my years, especially during the brittle, strung-out opening songs.

Fables is fantastic, and especially the first couple of songs. Its classic REM at its finest. I don't hear Joy Division in it so much though- it doesn't have that kind of urgent, staccato, claustrophobic feel to it. It has a dystopic undercurrent to it, but of a different kind. That sound and atmosphere is very much there from the beginning with REM- what Fables has is less of the Jangle that moderates it the earlier stuff. It has always struck me as very much a product of its place- the American Southeast rather than post-industrial Manchester.

But REM came out of scene that was driven to a large extent by Pylon, who helped break them initially; REM have cited Gang of Four and Mission of Burma as early influences, both of which Pylon toured with. They were very much out of the post-punk tradition. That's was just their vibe. It only sounds strange to people who connected with them via their later pop stuff and never really knew where they came from.
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Sprocket
Vintage Newbie


inorbit wrote:

What do they say about it? Who? Its actually a reasonably faithful cover (probably more so on the studio version than the live one I linked.
Its a great song- and Pylon is pretty uninpugnable.


I believe it was someone reviewing a Wire album oddly enough, who got uppity about it. I personally think it's a great cover, but I have a fair amount of friends who really dislike R.E.M., having only heard the top 40 singles (some of which are stellar IMO) and pigeon-hole them as a middle-of-the-road band and so maybe it was one of those instances. A real shame, mind. Now to read the rest of your post...

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bigideas
Vintage Newbie


inorbit wrote:
bigideas wrote:
What do you think of the deluxe 2 CD versions they're doing? I have the albums from Automatic on, though I did not get into them with that album, so I would like to hear everything prior.


I don't know them....
Are they re-releases of the IRS albums done two to a CD or something? I don't even know who owns their pre-Warner back catalog now- London or someone like that maybe?


Search for the first 3 or 4 albums on Amazon and put in "Deluxe Edition."
You are writing some serious paragraphs, so I will have to come back later and read more in depth. Laughing

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wilsmith
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They were on Austin City Limits last night (rerun perhaps) and sounded great. Don't know when they added the multi-instrumentalist to the line-up, but it was a nice addition and they sounded pitch perfect. I just happened to come in on them doing Drive, my 2nd favorite R.E.M. song circa Automatic From the People time. I always meant to get their I.R.S. stuff and stuff after UP but never did.
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bigideas
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb3-9kgXU3U

Trailer for the album.

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bigideas
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Full Album Stream on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/2011/03/01/133998085/first-listen-r-e-m-collapse-in to-now

All the clips I've heard before today haven't totally knocked me out, but I'm working through the stream now. Hopefully it is pretty cheap opening week so I don't have to think too hard about getting it. Laughing

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grain thrower
Vintage Newbie


bigideas wrote:
Full Album Stream on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/2011/03/01/133998085/first-listen-r-e-m-collapse-in to-now

All the clips I've heard before today haven't totally knocked me out, but I'm working through the stream now. Hopefully it is pretty cheap opening week so I don't have to think too hard about getting it. Laughing

I resisted The Valley stream all week.

I jumped on the REM stream 0.68 seconds after I read this post. Very Happy

Mostly because I already had The Valley ordered and didn't want to spoil the CD experience, but who knows what REM will come up with? I'd almost written them off after 3 crummy attempts, then they came back with Accelerate which was great.

On second song but already apparent they learned a lesson - ROCK it baby!

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wilsmith
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Good amount of rocking, and a few downbeat songs on there, some good, some... ok, it's a solid record, but Accelerate has got it by a couple of car lengths.
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bigideas
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I was pleasantly surprised by the end of the stream.

Reading all the comments, there were the standard 'they haven't been good since Berry left' stuff, but several people mark New Adventures as their last great record.

I can't get into that album no matter how hard I try. There are some songs I like, but there are a lot I can't stand.

I hate the one song that starts off, "I look good in a glasspack." Just the way Stipe is singing is really annoying to me.

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wilsmith
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^ Around the Sun makes the Comeback for me. That's the best of the Post-Berry records prior to Accelerate

Don't know how I missed out on all the R. E. M. talk, since it inspired my catalog dive a few months back? Skimmed and found inorbit's perspective uncanny yet again Laughing Murmur- Green was a great run, beyond that things changed. These last 3 records sort of mirror U2's last three as far as artistic direction (Back to "Basics" musically) in this stage of their career arch ( Late Career rejuvination/ R & R HOF stab at getting back to the old sound that was responsible for getting big enough that the band will be/ has been inducted for. )

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grain thrower
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wilsmith wrote:
Good amount of rocking, and a few downbeat songs on there, some good, some... ok, it's a solid record, but Accelerate has got it by a couple of car lengths.

Spot on, I think. At least through one listen.

"I look good in a glasspack." -- haha, I forking love Wake-Up Bomb. One of the most interesting aspects I find about REM is that no matter what songs I don't like, there's someone out there who digs 'em. Like "Country Feedback" or "Oddfellows Local 151," don't care much at all for them but have friends who said those are among their favorites!

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inorbit
Laughing Citizen


grain thrower wrote:
wilsmith wrote:
Good amount of rocking, and a few downbeat songs on there, some good, some... ok, it's a solid record, but Accelerate has got it by a couple of car lengths.

Spot on, I think. At least through one listen.

"I look good in a glasspack." -- haha, I forking love Wake-Up Bomb. One of the most interesting aspects I find about REM is that no matter what songs I don't like, there's someone out there who digs 'em. Like "Country Feedback" or "Oddfellows Local 151," don't care much at all for them but have friends who said those are among their favorites!


case in point.
Oddfellows is pure genius
Always loved that song. I always kind of considered it the apex of Document.



and Wil, I don't think my opinion of any of that stuff was unusual at the time, other than liking Green more than most people would admit to (with the exception of the cringe-worthy singles, of course)
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Last edited by inorbit on Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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wilsmith
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The Tragically Hip and Pearl Jam owe a lot to that song, and it also validates Peter Buck playing guitar on a Neil Young cover Very Happy
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inorbit
Laughing Citizen


wilsmith wrote:
The Tragically Hip and Pearl Jam owe a lot to that song, and it also validates Peter Buck playing guitar on a Neil Young cover Very Happy


Nice

And good to see Bob get some love around here.
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