Thursday, February 7, 2008

WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY, MICHAEL?

REM have a new album called Accelerate coming out shortly, and I have offered endless oblations to the music gods above, pleading may case to please not let this one suck. I really want it to be good, as REM hold a firm place in my own personal musical Parthenon. In my opinion their last consistently brilliant album was Automatic For The People in 1992 and since this time they have released a string of great singles on some very uneven and mediocre albums. Their new single Supernatural Superserious sounds promising and I have included it here for your listening pleasure;



They are commencing a North American tour in May and are kicking it off in my little Pacific Northwest paradise here in Vancouver as a triple bill with Modest Mouse and The National. I don't go to as many concerts as I did in days of yore, though this one is on my horizon rain or shine. REM are amazing live and I recommend that you go see them if they come to your home town. It will change your life, I swear.

Let's do the math shall we and calculate the significance of this triple bill;

REM (Stipe/Mills/Buck, - need I say more) + Modest Mouse (brilliant Indie Rock featuring ex-Smiths guitar god Johnny Marr) + The National (makers of one of the best albums of 2007) = Hours of Blissful & Rapturous Sound For Music Geeks of All Walks of Life!

Now that I am feeling the love, I end with REM's masterful and sublime "Nightswimming"

(WARNING; when Michael Stipe sings of "the recklessness of water" he channels blatant nostalgia and longing for lost nights of innocence, where one is immersed fully in a moment of transcendent beauty - this may induce intensive reflections, journal writing or scouring of old photo albums!)

5 comments:

Lisa said...

Here's one more thing we have in common! I'll pray to the music gods along with you.

Love the "old" REM stuff. The new stuff, not so much!

Saw them in concert in Cincinnati in 1989 with the Indigo Girls. Wow! (Wish I still had the t-shirt!!!)

We're HUGE concert-goers. What a blast!

Hope this finds you feeling better.

Peace,
lisa

Comrade Kevin said...

I have extreme respect for R.E.M. in its IRS days, and nothing but scorn for the group afterwards. To me, Green was the point at which a slow, steady decline in the fortunes of the band rapidly sent the band headed into irrelevancy.

That being said, I really think they should have hung it up a long time ago, particularly after Bill Berry left. The new song you have posted is not that bad, but it's not that great, either and that's pretty much been my opinion of R.E.M. from 1989 onward.

Dean Wormer said...

Old REM is great, new not-so-much.

It's funny that when I was a kid working minimum wage jobs concerts cost about a week's salary.

I make a lot more these days and it still costs about a week's salary.

Strange.

Westcoast Walker said...

Hi Lisa, Kevin & Dean - we seem to have consensus around the earlier incarnation of REM being superior to the later version. Although I have liked some of their post-IRS material, I do agree that it is less consistent than the former.

I have kind of viewed them as a great singles band since this time (sort of like New Order). Perhaps in the age of digital music it would make more sense for the band to focus on releasing some stellar EPs or singles periodically, rather than making inconsistent albums.

I adore Life's Rich Pageant, and I have to say that Automatic For The People is breathtaking in 5.1 surround sound.

Dean - I agree about concerts being way to pricey (#@*! service charges) and I space mine out now because buying diapers and groceries is a priority these days! I will definitely go to this gig though, as REM are stellar as a live band and Michael Stipe is endearing and engaging as a performer. I saw them about 4 years a go with Wilco and The Dandy Warhols and it blew me away.

dd said...

these things they go away
replaced by everyday