23 September 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 220

I just wrote down a list of my favorite REM songs. Right now there are 23 songs on the list, and I could keep going because you know what? "Me 'n' Honey" is a fun tune, and a great album closer, just like their cover of The Clique's "Superman" at the end of Lifes Rich Pageant. "Superman", by the way, isn't on the list, but only because it isn't an REM song.

So, I've spent the last hour or so listening to REM songs, trying to decide which is my favorite, and after an hour, I still hadn't made a decision, finally deciding that it had to be this song, "9-9" , because my memories are telling me that this is the song that convinced me that REM were my new favorite band somewhere back in late 1983.

On this song, Mike Mill's fluid, propulsive bass kicks things off, with Peter Buck's serpentine guitar quickly joining with an Oriental flavor that found it's way into many REM songs back then. What I particularly love about Buck's playing on this song are all those little fills that he sneaks in between vocal lines, no two the same. But in general, Buck packs this song with a seemingly endless array of guitar sounds and riffs and styles, and to my ears, it's all very awe-inspiring. Easily one of the most forgotten guitarists when fanboys talk about all-time greats.

I can't say whether or not Bill Berry could or should ever be considered as one of Rock'n'Roll's great drummers, but I always found him steady, tasteful and interesting back in those early IRS Record years, and always a great partner with Mike Mills as the rhythm section. When the band made the conscious decision to become the biggest fucking Rock Band they could be when they signed to Warner Bros, Bill Berry's drumming got more powerful, and really helped the band evolve and succeed in becoming that big rock band that could fill big arenas and stadiums with a bigger Rock sound than the Indie Jangle kinda thing they had been known for.

And then there's Michael Stipe. I've always loved his voice, though many believe it took him a few years and a few albums to really become a good and proper Singer. Others will always hate his voice, which I'll never quite understand because it's a real voice, it's his own voice, and he was always messing around with phrasing and sounds. Of course, on this song, Stipe's legendary mumbling is in full effect (Murmur was their first LP, after all). Listen to the lyrics and try deciphering them, and then click here if you feel like reading the lyrics as decided upon by a consensus/collaboration of fans. I promise you weren't even close. "Right on target" and "conversation fear" are probably the only words you got right.

I linked to an REM lyrics site, but I won't read anything there. I've got my own version of all those songs long figured out for myself, and yes, for the sake of nostalgia that's the version I'm sticking with. So many hours spent singing along with Stipe, sussing out a word here and a phrase there, puzzles that were often nonsense, but so fun to sing along with...

So yeah, my sentimental favorite band of all time broke up this week, and this is my favorite song of theirs.

Hotcha! Hank

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home