Today was going to be a post about all the delicious new bands we found on Bandamp this week, but instead, a rough morning gave me a hankerin’ for some comfort food. This can be many things depending on my mood, the weather, the smells in my nose, the horniness in my junk, but today with one speed bump after another and with the rain & wind never seeming to end this Spring, it was my maaaassive REM mixtape that found it’s way to my ears…. It’s about 5 or so hours long. Hit shuffle, check, done. But then “Crush With Eyeliner” came on and suddenly I was transported back to the first time I saw the new REM song coming out back in college, a video premiere on MTV (remember when they played videos? I didn’t until just now) for “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?”. A freshly balded Stipe and a wandering camera.
Now…. You have to remember the how we got here. This was transformation #4 (or more) in most people’s eyes, right? The “sell-out” to Warner Bros and “Stand” (fuck all them, that’s a great song and great album), then the “uber sell-out” with “Shiny Happy People” (and fuck all THEM too! Yes, I hated the song initially, I mean, c’mon… but now I love it and I think I get it).
Then Automatic and woah. Masterpiece theatre there. But with grunge doing it’s thing and U2 going glam, REM has a tendency to do their very own thing while still somehow staying “relevant”, whatever the hell that really means, and low & behold as summer was winding down back in 1994, while I was studying textbooks and trying to figure out how to be a 21 year old freshman in college, we got ourselves a monster.
Was this their grunge album? Wasn’t Stipe hanging with Courtney Love? Blah Blah Blah… but once again and again and again, REM smacked me upside the head and I was stuck. I played this damn thing over and over and over…. Listening all the way through (i.e. not part of a mixtape) for the first time in ages, it’s 17 years ago all over again………….
Side one – Head side
The song that started it. What is the frequency? “You said that irony was the shackles of youth, uh huh”. Oh man, how prophetic that line is in light of the ironically clad hipsters that meander the music festivals these days with their ironic beer and ironic graphic t’s… Oh the ironing.
“Crush with Eyeliner”
Sexy glam glam. Where I picked up the word tomato to describe a beautiful woman… I always think of it as a “hard song” until I listen to it again and realize just how slow the pace is. It pulls you along a Los Angeles gutter and through the broken down starlettes lying there in your way.
“King of Comedy”
Make your money…. One of Stipe’s classic commentary on various things that tend to piss him off. This one seems to be all about the money obsessed media types or something. But, in all honesty, it’s the sexy female backing vocals that hooked me in. Yes, Stipe, you are not a commodity, but I wonder if you look at the music industry (and many other industries for that matter) these days and still think the same thing? Have you been to a concert lately? You are a dancing monkey, more than ever before. But that’s a rant for a different day…..
“I Don’t Sleep, I Dream”
This is one of those songs that haunts me. Periodically and randomly.
Oddly, you’d think this would feel rather dated considering caller ID kinda made star 69 so pointless. Though I do remember using star 69, that it was this wicked tool against prank calls or hang-ups or whatever. I had a sleep-over at my friends mobile home (remember, I’m from Florida) and his sister (who I had a crush on because once I saw her boob in a awesome downblouse moment) got a strange call and we were all buzzed about Star 69ing the person back. Yeah. Random.
“Everybody Hurts” Part II, the break-up / obsession. Heavier, darker, meatier sonically than “Everybody Hurts”, but while one focused on not killing yourself, this one focused on one of the things that often makes people kill themselves, but with a rather stalker-esque twist, eh?
Side two – Tail side
Yeah, I can rock this falsetto, put Prince to shame. This song delicately tip-toes around with a hint of swagger that a man who’s beyond confident singing falsetto tends to carry. It’s got soul. It’s sexy.
“Bang and Blame”
This song always made me think of the 80s, a Men At Work or Duran Duran cool song with echoing guitars and a lack of snare on the versus, until the chorus kicks in and we are right back in Monsterland. Very cool song, but surprised me that this was the 2nd single. I guess it’s the most “REM song” after “What The Frequency, Kenneth?”, or something… and you can’t have the slow song (i.e. “Strange Currencies”) be the 2nd single, heaven forbid! That’s always the 3rd single. Major Labels are so shmart.
“I Took Your Name”
This is the song that always gets forgotten when I think of Monster. I never include it in mixtapes, never think about it when I think of the album. Nothing. Yet here it is. I think maybe it’s a bit too much like the others? Not sure. Lead vocals waaay back there, similar guitar-action-style going on. Etc. Good song, but in the mix, it’s a bit forgettable.
“Let Me In”
Ah. “Let Me In”, the song I never listen to but when I do, holy shit. Sounds like it should’ve been an acoustic sweet song to someone (Cobain, I believe), but instead, they switch out to guitar on super-distort and nary much else until much later in the song. Stunning, goose-bump song that will break your heart in the right mind set…
Except for the needling distortion & the guitar sound, it’s actually a rather normal REM song. Reworked, this could’ve fit on “Green” pretty easily…
Ah, our finale, “You”. Ominous. Hot & summer. Sweaty. You can almost see the heat waves off the asphault. Then this…
I love you crazy, just keep on
I love you madly, just keep watch
You wipe my lips,
You turn me on
My attentions are turned to you!!!!!!!
Have a great weekend everyone! Go ride your bikes, go take lots of pictures, and, if the good lard’s a-willin’ and the creeks don’t rise, we’ll see you before long……..
Aaron aka Tsuru
PS….. nudiezine #6 is almost here!!!, and we got a special offer for all the pre-orders! Check it!