Friday, August 12, 2016

R.E.M.-Green (1988)


Not losing any sleep whatsoever over in deciding whether I wanted to stay on an alternative rock kick for a while; the fact that I'd really just known one—and only one—song by R.E.M. in all the years the band has been in existence necessitated that I pull out this 1988 "Green" album and, consequently, remain in that alternative rock mood. Besides that, I simply felt like simply checking out something else from the 'R' entries in my music collection that haven't heard in a long time. And that one song that I'm speaking of? Well that would be "Stand", which 'stands' as one of the most memorable alternative rock hits of the 80's. As I myself remember it, the distinctively gritty vocals of lead singer Michael Stipe and the catchy chorus—'stand in the place where you live'—are what had hooked me to the song so many years ago. Then after playing it for myself a couple of times, I realize that "Stand" has stood the test of time an aged very well; it really doesn't sound like it was produced in the 80's. I can take that notion further in discussing the more easy-listening side of this album; tunes like "You Are The Everything" (I like this softer, acoustic guitar-driven sound and the sweet melody of the bagpipes in the background; felt like I was in an Italian bistro listening throughout), "Hairshirt" and "The Wrong Child" (that acoustic guitar-driven sound is so alluring and pleasant on the ears here as well) sound like they very well could have been recorded at any point during the timeline of contemporary popular music history. Listening to "Stand" again—and the tracks before and after it—also reminded me of why I often find myself attracted to these kinds of early alternative rock albums: the colorful and sometimes quirky lyrics. I hadn't really paid close attention before, but I found a bit of whimsical humor in the words to "Stand", as well as on several other songs: "Pop Song 89" (it's those lines where he goes 'should we talk about the weather?' and 'should we talk about and the government?'), "World Leader Pretend" (if that curious title didn't get my attention, then the words about waging war against himself and being the one to knock down the walls definitely did, all with his monotonic, emotionless vocals to portray the theme of self-misery that I gather), "Get Up" ('dreams complicate my life' got me here, and a nice touch to add the 'psycho' sound of the chilling jingly bells, as if to signify him living in a nightmare) and "The Wrong Child" (well, the tile was already funny, but what especially did it for me was hearing him crying out but it's okay ' in response to his own delivery of ' it's not supposed to be this way '). Then somewhere else were the words about somebody sleeping with teeth in their mouth? I'd have to pinpoint the song where I know for sure I heard that. Always a pleasure to take these little trips back to the 80's, and these R.E.M. songs kept me and my senses wide awake:

1. Pop Song 89
2. Get Up
3. You Are The Everything
4. Stand
5. World Leader Pretend
6. The Wrong Child
7. Orange Crush
8. Turn You Inside-Out
9. Hairshirt
10. I Remember California
11. Untitled

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