Thursday, November 17, 2011

Song #20 of 9999 - Radio Free Europe by R.E.M.

Song #20 of 9999

Title: Radio Free Europe
Artist: R.E.M.
Year: 1983
Album: Murmur

If you haven't heard, R.E.M. has broken up. They're currently on tour telling everyone about it. (cue laughter)

But seriously, since I keep hearing news stories about R.E.M.'s disbandment, I figured I should post a song by them. I wanted to post "Hairshirt," a sad-sack ballad from 1988's Green that offered a glimpse into the future of the band that would become a household name. Find that song and enjoy it for its simplicity. (It's not on YouTube--that's why I didn't use it.) Try to forget that "Nightswimming" and "Everybody Hurts" and "Try Not to Breathe" are going to advance this type of balladry with slightly better arrangements and production and performances and revel in the lyric that begins "I am not the type of dog/That could keep you waiting/For no good reason/Run a carbon-black test on my jaw/And you will find it's all been said before" and ends with "Here I am here I am in your life/It's a beautiful life/My life/It's a beautiful life/Your life." It is a gorgeous song.

But since it's not available in cheap, easy YouTube, I thought I'd post "Radio Free Europe" and remind people of just where this band began. The Letterman clip is fun to watch for their youthful exuberance and the song is fun to listen to because it's always nice to be reminded what four guys can do with four chords (my favorite of which begins the pre-chorus---an F# barre chord with an open B rubbing against the A# in the lead vocal). If you've never heard Murmur,  go get it and pretend you've never heard of this band before. It will be easy and you'll be in indie pop heaven for 44 minutes and 11 seconds.

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