Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finding My True Religion -- R.E.M.

Every so often we all need to be reminded of what it really important. I'm not talking friends and family, if you're not aware of that you have a lot of introspection ahead of you. No, I'm talking about musically. My blog, it has come to my attention repeatedly, has been a little too focused with a burgeoning, incipient talent and not enough focused on the greatest rock and roll band in the history of the U.S. So, I'll try to make amends.

Last night, Glee spotlighted the R.E.M. song Losing My Religion. I applaud every effort to remind the U.S. audiences about this revolutionary band who defied labels and stereotypes and the rapidly changing taste of the public to make the best music out there for the past 25+ years. But having a lightweight with no emotional core sing that song was a bit of an insult as well. Yesterday I posted the original, and much lauded, video so you could hear the original vocals and see the glaring difference.

While surfing the web for my R.E.M. fix today, I found this at the Murmurs forum:
Losing My Religion demo (1990) by murmurs

I love hearing the creative process at work.

So, why R.E.M.?  What is it about them that makes them the best, most important band ever? And why were the experts on VH1, who slotted them at #71 below ABBA for crying out loud, so wrong?

Let's start with their unpredictability, category defying oeuvre.  Who else has the range of songs that they have?  Who else can move so effortlessly from country to folk to rock, taking on themes from love and family to politics and the world?  Who has found the worldwide acceptance and held it for so long by being so hard to define?

Here are some possibly lesser-known songs that will demonstrate how an R.E.M. song will sound like no one else, yet be totally different from another in their catalog:

...explain the change, the difference between...

To be continued...


  1. How about posting Orange Crush? :-)

  2. my son really liked REM. if he was able he'd probably agree with you.

  3. It was pretty interesting that when listening to E-Bow the Letter, I thought, that sounds a little like Dylan. Then after a little digging, (I do that way too much!) I found that the song was co-written by Patti Smith and REM lead singer Michael Stipe in 1997, and that Patti had toured with Dylan in '96. Ahhh ... the connection. So then I started listening to REM songs and found one with Stipe and Springsteen (also written by Patti Smith) "Because the Night" and I really liked it so wanted to download on Itunes. Not available! Dang. Check it out. It's pretty cool. We all appreciate guitar here - right?! Watch Springsteen. I didn't remember him as being that good!


  5. REM had (indeed, still has) the unique ability to create a void and then fill it. There is not an artist today that has even a scintilla of the talent necessary to do that.