Friday, March 28, 2008

Still love REM?

I haven’t been seeking out tracks from Accelerate online. On Monday, I shall buy a physical copy of the album, take it home and listen to it from start to finish, reverentially, examining the inlay card for hidden meanings. Because this is what an REM album deserves. Still.

I know there are those who don’t think so, as has been discussed on RR a few times. I guess we’re all agreed that everything up until Automatic For The People is pure gold. Since then, conventional wisdom says, it’s been downhill all the way. But anyone who’s given up on them is missing out on some real treats.

Monster is hard to love (there’s some filler, and somebody really should have told Pete Buck to switch that bloody e-bow off) but when it’s good (“Strange Currencies”, “Let Me In”) it’s very, very good. New Adventures In Hi-Fi is raw, overlong, intense and frequently brilliant. Up, after a slow start, is a classic. Reveal is a little too FM-radio-shiny, but has some wonderful songs. Only Around The Sun really disappoints, with too many of the songs simultaneously half-baked and over-cooked.

Anyway, here’s a post-Automatic playlist, which I reckon stands up to anything REM have ever done:

1. What’s The Frequency Kenneth?

2. How The West Was Won and Where It Got Us

3. Daysleeper

4. Leaving New York

5. Strange Currencies

6. E-Bow The Letter

7. Walk Unafraid

8. Let Me In

9. I’ll Take The Rain

10. Falls To Climb

And there’s plenty more (“Leave”, “Electrolite”, “The Lifting”, “At My Most Beautiful” etc. etc.) where those came from.

Bring on Accelerate…


treefrogdemon said...

Have you listened to the Albert Hall concert on Radio 2? It should be there till Monday.

barbryn said...

Ooh, no. Will check it out, thanks.

goneforeign said...

OK Barbryn: I know it night sound outragious but I've never heard REM, so if I could only listen to one track that would reveal all, what would it be. You suggest it and I'll find it.

Blimpy said...

Monster is my fave REM album.

The best REM song is tied between Crush With Eyeliner and Leaving New York.

Although if Thurston Moore wasn't on Crush, there'd be no competition.

And another thing about Crush is that it just goes to show that Courtney Love was the greatest muse of the twentieth century.

barbryn said...

That is possibly the most outrageous thing I've ever heard :) What, not even "Losing My Religion"? There's one to start with... I believe Michael Stipe's personal favourite is "Fall On Me" - that would be a good starting point too. I almost envy you...

Blimpy, that's quite outrageous as well. I think REM's glam flirtations are their least interesting facet, but each to their own. Interesting point about Courtney Love though... there's a playlist...

Proudfoot said...

Loved this list. I would have squeezed 'Leave' and 'Sad Professor' in there somewhere. Surely REM novices should start with 'Radio Free Europe'. If you don't like that it's unlikely you would bother with the subsequent output.

goneforeign said...

And the winner is!
I downloaded 'Radio', 'Fall on me'
'Religion' and 'New York'
Fall on and Religion were tolerable, the other two I wasn't bothered about. I don't understand much of contemporary pop though I keep trying, much of it sounds like a lot of noise. I have these four on my desktop and I'll give 'em a couple more plays, thanks for the guidance.
Though I did discover M Ward this week, liked him a lot, was that Chinese song a big hit in UK?

steenbeck said...

Goneforeign, try this one...Flowers of Guatemala...
The video is not theirs, but I think you might like it anyway. The REM I love is before most of the stuff discussed in this thread, years before. I'll make a post for it tommorrow maybe.

goneforeign said...

Steenbeck: I did enjoy that piece and all the images were very familiar. Plus I definitely agreed with the comments by the poster re. the US's involvement in the killing of thousands of very poor people there, it was all initiated by Reagan who's held up as the great American hero, he's disgusting.

barbryn said...

goneforeign - I'm glad you liked "Flowers of Guatemala" anyway. Let me know if you have an epiphany...

Incidentally, I'm loving Accelerate. Fans of Lifes Rich Pageant and Document should give it a go.