From every relationship that I have ever had I have taken away something at the end of it that has become an integral part of who I am. It can be a book, a film, or some music. I got into R.E.M when Out Of Time
was in the ascendancy, before Everybody Hurts
became ubiquitous. There hadn’t yet been the critical backlash that hit Monster
and New Adventures
hadn’t seen become a 3 piece. Reveal
came next and then the only album that ever struck a wrong chord with me (which I am sure they wouldn’t care about; but it was the first record I ever listened to where I thought R.E.M. were aping themselves) — Around The World
. The new album will be out soon and from what I have heard of it I am really looking forward to it.
I used to buy magazines on the strength that I would get to share some of Stipe’s wisdom; I’d record music programmes for the same reason. He seemed to have the drop on politics even though, apart from on then rare occassions like Ignoreland
, he wouldn’t tackle directly. The earlier had been more overtly political, though never losing that lyrical edge. Around the time of Monster
he seemed to be settling into his role as an elder statesman of rock and he was an authority which I could rely on to explain the deaths of both River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain who he was friends with.
He tackled it all in a tasteful and restrained way, in an atmosphere where prurience was the watchword and the press were gathered around like vultures.
I loved the music, the lyrics and the imagery that they used in the videos — they seemed and still seem the perfect band for anyone of a literary bent. A direct reference point by which to access any number of disparate musical threads. The rapid eye movement of Stipe seem to scan and take in everything. They always tried to sell him as operating from behind some screen of personality he had constructed but on the contrary he always came across as honest — as honest as you would expect the person behind a lot of the highly personal lyrics on Automatic For The People to be.
My favourites in case anyone cares are Tongue, Man On The Moon, Can’t Get There From Here
and Fall On Me.
I love way more than that but that’s just off the top of my head.
Now playing: R.E.M. – Driver 8