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Pop Culture Reflection: R.E.M Album: Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011

18 Nov

R.E.M might be ready to Begin the Begin to retire but the new songs included on their definitive collection still sound like classic R.E.M ballads which is comforting.

I give props to R.E.M for still having the song writing ability to remain as consistent as if they were writing music for albums in their I.R.S Records years.

While I liked the songs they selected for the definitive collection, I still feel like they exclude those real gems from the I.R.S. Records years like Feeling Gravity’s Pull, Auctioneer, Carnival of Sorts, Stumble, 9-9 and Lightin’ Hopkins.

If I could release my own R.E.M. hits collection I would choose the I.R.S years starting from Chronic Town to Document choosing only my favorites. It would go something like this:

The I.R.S. Hits

  1. Carnival of Sorts
  2. Stumble
  3. Radio Free Europe
  4. Moral Kiosk
  5. 9-9
  6. Sitting Still
  7. West of the Fields
  8. So Central Rain
  9. Pretty Persuasion
  10. Feeling Gravity’s Pull
  11. Maps and Legends
  12. Driver 8
  13. Auctioneer
  14. These Days
  15. Superman
  16. Welcome to the Occupation
  17. The One I Love
  18. It’s the End of the World as We Know It
  19. Lightin’ Hopkins
  20. All the Right Friends

I’m one of those fans that will never grow tired of owning the same great songs compiled in a different order. Even if I do already own that song on ten other albums in live and acoustic versions, and I’m pretty sure I do.

I listened to the new songs and A Month Of Saturdays was upbeat and gritty. The song reminds me of something that I would have heard included in their 1987 release Dead Letter Office.

The second song We All Go Back To Where We Belong was ok and had the same feel from their 1997 album UP .

 

But it was Hallelujah that stood out and I absolutely loved the song instantly. Thank you R.E.M for giving me just one more for the road.

Michael Stipe’s voice on Hallelujah gives me one more reason to love his vocal talent. His voice has always sounded distinct and it never ceases to amaze me.

I really could never compare his singing style to any other artist that I know. I also think he created the best way to sing the word hallelujah, without sounding like a church choir boy!

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Legends of Rock: R.E.M bid farewell to fans on 9/21/11 now it’s time to Talk About The Passion

8 Nov
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My Favorite R.E.M Albums

R.E.M’s music is anything but typical and once you really feel their offbeat groove, the impact hits you hard and leaves a mark.

The band will release their definitive greatest hits collection just a couple months after calling it quits. The album goes on sale November 15, 2011 as stated from the bands official website http://remhq.com

R.E.M has been my inspirational soundtrack since I was
12 years old, and my loyalty to
them is infinite.

From their underground start in Athens, Georgia to full fame; Michael Stipe [vocals], Peter Buck [guitar], Mike Mills [bass] and Bill Berry [drums] created an iconic music experience in their 31 year run.

In the early 90s my full attention was shifted to R.E.M when the song Drive came out in 1992. My brother had watched the music video for the song Drive and he called me over to check it out.

So of course I did and I not only loved the song upon first listen, but I thought it was the coolest music video I had ever seen.

As you can guess my first R.E.M. album was Automatic for the People (on cassette tape) and what a flawless master piece it is. The songs were great music overload for my young impressionable mind.

From that moment on, I instantly loved everything about their music and videos to Michael Stipe’s image and distinct vocals.

I remember going to Harmony House (old music franchise) to consider which R.E.M album I was going to buy next.My eyes landed on all of their other albums the store carried: Document, Green, Out of Time, Reckoning and Chronic Town.

I wished I could have bought them all at once. I think Document was the second one I bought.

Each time I went to the music store I bought an R.E.M album that I didn’t have until I finally had everything up to date.

It was a wonderful discovery process because I wasn’t familiar with any hits from their early IRS record albums like Murmur, Reckoning or Chronic Town.

Yet I bought those albums anyway because I knew I would love the songs since I loved Automatic for the People and Document so much.

R.E.M was also the first band I ever saw live in concert.

I was 14 years old when they came to Detroit on June 7, 1995 for their Monster tour.

Luscious Jackson was the opening band for them but I was too anxious to
care about openers.

Plus I was holding tickets to decent main floor seats in row fifteen, seat 5!

I loved the show and of course instantly loved their stage presence.

For years I remembered and could recite their whole set list played at that show.

Now 17 years later I can only remember the first three songs which were: I Took Your Name, Turn You Inside Out and I Don’t Sleep I Dream.

The encore of course was It’s the End of the World as We Know It.

Michael Stipe had pages of lyrics in front of him and he admitted that he couldn’t remember the words to some of the older songs, so he kept the words in front of him.

He was modest and an excellent frontman.

Also, Bill Berry had recently recovered from his brain aneurysm while on the tour, so during the entire concert every now and again this loud drunk guy sitting behind me would yell: “Yeah! Bill lives!” For some reason it lingers in my memory.

I am so happy that I can say R.E.M was my first big venue concert, especially the Monster tour since Berry was still in the band before he decided to retire in 1997.

I have been lucky enough to see them in concert three times.

I’ll admit that I felt Berry’s departure left a dent in R.E.M. The last few albums just didn’t fully have the enigmatic effect that I loved about their other albums.

I do have my favorites from the albums recorded after Berry such as: She Just Wants To Be, Lotus, Final Straw, Around the Sun and Uberlin.

I guess as a trio R.E.M switched to more of an acoustic style and I kind of found
that appropriate.

I also disagree with all the negative reviews claiming that Around the Sun was their
worst album.

I think that album contains a few great songs like Final Straw and The Outsiders which features Q-tip from A Tribe Called Quest, and for that reason alone this album can never suck…so eat it critics!

Accelerate is the album I don’t care for.

But even if a couple of albums were not their best work R.E.M prevails over all the good and bad since they stayed together respectfully for 31 years.

My top five R.E.M albums that I still love to listen to from start to finish:

1. Chronic Town
2. Murmur
3. Fables of the Reconstruction
4. Automatic for the People
5. New Adventures in Hi Fi

R.E.M has been a part of my life for 19 years…needless to say I did not outgrow them.

Their music has an attractive quirky coolness quality in their brilliant ballads.

Whenever I am discussing music with friends or co-workers they are usually surprised to find out that R.E.M is my favorite band of all time.

I also commend R.E.M’s pact to never publicly make a negative display of any personal tensions between the band.

“We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this — there’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.” stated Mike Mills on the bands official website.

From Chronic Town R.E.M was singing: “We’ll stumble through the years.” In Collapse Into Now, they bid their fans “All The Best.”

I want to thank R.E.M for becoming a band and writing great songs that got me through
my teen years and made me feel cool to be me. My heart holds on tightly to their music.

I have linked my favorite R.E.M video ffrom Maccafixx You Tube channel for the song Driver 8.