MY 33 FAVORITE RECORDING ARTISTS- #30– R.E.M.

Image result for REM  BAND IMAGES

In my countdown of my 33 Favorite Recording Artists coming in at #30 is R.E.M. R.E.M. is an example of an artist/group that has fallen over the years- in the early 90’s they would have ranked a lot higher. I know some disagree with me on this but to me you can divide R.E.M. into halves- their first eight albums- from 1983’s Murmur to 1992’s Automatic For The People- perfection. Rating those eight albums nothing would fall below 4 stars. The final seven albums from 1994’s Monster to 2011’s Collapse Into Now- while not terrible at all- always left me somewhat disappointed. The past decade or so I haven’t listened much to R.E.M. but they were such a favorite in the 80’s and early 90’s that they need to be on this list.

A train trestle covered in thick kudzu with "R.E.M. / MURMUR" written in blue

I took an immediate liking to this Athens, Georgia group when i heard Radio Free Europe on a college radio station one afternoon. Got the album and their earlier 5 song EP Chronic Town and from that point on- bought up every album they released until they called and end to the band earlier in the decade. I saw them twice in concert- in 1985 and again in 1994. I especially enjoyed the 1985 concert at the old Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh- the 1994 venue was one of the summer outdoor sheds.

R.E.M. - Automatic for the People.jpg

 

RECOMMENDED ALBUMS

  • MURMUR
  • RECKONING
  • FABLES OF THE RECONSTRUCTON
  • LIFE’S RICH PAGEANT
  • DOCUMENT
  • GREEN
  • OUT OF TIME
  • AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE
  • DEAD LETTER OFFICE– A 1987 collection of rarities and b-sides.

FAVORITE R.E.M SONGS- Too many to mention but here are some-

  • GARDENING AT NIGHT
  • RADIO FREE EUROPE
  • PILGRIMAGE
  • TALK ABOUT THE PASSION
  • 7 CHINESE BROTHERS
  • SO.CENTRAL RAIN
  • DON’T GO BACK TO ROCKVILLE
  • FEELING GRAVITY’S PULL
  • DRIVER 8
  • WENDELL GEE
  • CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE
  • FALL ON ME
  • ITS THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT
  • ORANGE CRUSH
  • STAND
  • LOSING MY RELIGION — One of my favorite songs of that era
  • NEAR WILD HEAVEN
  • EVERYBODY HURTS
  • NIGHTSWIMMING
  • THE SIDEWINDER SLEEPS TONITE
  • WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY KENNETH?

In thinking about R.E.M. today one of the goals I am going to have for music listening next year is to go through the R.E.M catalog from start -to finish- and concentrate especially on the later albums. I am aware that I am have probably not given those last seven R.E.M albums as much of a chance/ attention as they deserve.

Advertisements

22 responses to “MY 33 FAVORITE RECORDING ARTISTS- #30– R.E.M.

  1. They were a band in every sense of the word. When you think back on them you don’t think of Stipe and a backing band or Peter Buck and the rest…

    • I do also. No arguments and fighting over royalities. I liked them also because at one time they all looked like science class rejects…except Peter Buck. He was the only one to dress more like a rock star.

  2. I really wish REM were still touring and making music. Their reason for breaking up (as I understand it), fits their approach to integrity. They couldn’t come up with anything new that they felt was worthy, and they didn’t want to tour as basically a tribute band to their existing body of work. I would go to see them whether they play new music or their REM standards. I’m holding out hope that they will give in to their popularity and do a reunion tour someday. I like almost all of your list of favorite songs, and would add two of my own: Daysleeper and Shiny Happy People. I don’t care if the band doesn’t like SHP, or think it is too pop or whatever. I think it’s a really fun song.

    I agree that their work can be divided into two eras. It’s awful to say I wish they were still making music, but then not be able to specifically recall any of their music after Monster.

    • The same here I have all their albums but post-Monster- the songs haven’t stayed with me– it;s been a while I must relisten to them.. i agree a band with real integrity.

  3. REM one of my favorite bands also. They were on my CD player for much of the 80s a lot. Favorite 3 albums: Green, Life’s Rich Pageant, and Out of Time. It’s funny, but like you, Automatic for the People was where I began to lose interest. Not sure if it was their music or other groups came along to replace them. The energy of their music, even when singing very sad songs, is peerless. “World Leader Pretend” is one of my favorite and almost adopted as an anthem. “The Wrong Child” I remember crying my eyes out the first time I heard it.

  4. Loved REM. Got into them with Murmur and agree that after Automatic for People markets a transition. Was disappointed that they decided to retire in 2011 as I thought Collapse into Now was a return to form.

  5. Also fun fact I grew up in Rockville Md the town referenced in Dont Go Back to Rockville- was always kind of fun to tell people that although obviously Rockville didn’t use the song for tourist promotions- 😀

Comments are closed.