Joseph J. Kovochich
Find Me On:
By no means is Give Up a complete album……A few duds exist.
However, they are responsible for creating some all-time classics that will forever remain close to my aching, midwestern heart.
The Postal Service needs money?
Not exactly breaking news.
Rush needs to be in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame….
Hahahahahahahahahaha…………No Muzzle of Bees?
That’s fucking hilarious!
I also like these top ten lists, and this one inspired me to listen to Wilco again…..
1. Muzzle of Bees
2. Handshake Drugs
3. Either Way
4. I am Trying to Break Your Heart
6. Company in My Back
7. Spiders (Kidsmoke)
8. Impossible Germany
9. One Wing
10. Can’t Stand It
I take full responsibility for the mis-communication.
I guess I wasn’t as clear as I thought I was.
Life’s Rich, New-Adventures, and Automatic are R.E.M’s finest albums.
Three way tie for FIRST PLACE….(the best).
To me, those three albums are complete…
Regarding Around the Sun, I had a similar experience….
For whatever reason, I remember the first few listens were VERY difficult.
After repeated listens, however, (after about a week)
the album blossomed into a magical piece of art (just as long as you skip a few songs).
Today is my first day of quitting smoking.
Because of that, you get this, forever, on the Internet.
Hope you enjoy.
A Defense of R.E.M.‘s Around the Sun:
While I wouldn’t call it R.E.M.’s best album
(Automatic for the People,
New Adventures in Hi-Fi,
and Life’s Rich Pageant are in a three-way tie for me),
I am shocked and saddened that Around the Sun continues to get shat upon in the circle of popular opinion.
Alright, maybe “shocked and saddened” are the wrong words to use in lieu of what just happened in Colorado…..
Maybe “surprised and disappointed” are more appropriate.
Either way, it’s not R.E.M.’s fault that John Kerry lost the election.
R.E.M. didn’t photograph him windsurfing off Nantucket.
(At least, I don’t THINK they did…)
Texas George and his monster-faced cabinet were seen as EVIL,
and because R.E.M. are GOOD,
they believed in and supported John Kerry.
Around the Sun was released a month before the 2004 election,
and the title track was used at the end of Kerry’s “Ra-Ra” documentary,
For me, ANY association between the Around the Sun album and John Kerry ENDS THERE, which is part of the reason I like the album so much.
Here’s how I rank the songs, from worst to first.
The Bottom 3:
“The Worst Joke Ever” is a total buzz kill; it’s absolutely draining, from start to finish….
I get lost at “cat burglar,” and never recover….
Lyrically, it seems like Michael is talking about a friend who keeps tripping up on a self-defeating addiction….
I know the feeling.
The repeating Sesame Street intro riff for “Wanderlust” stains an otherwise solid tune.
Can’t wear THIS shirt in public anymore…..It’s THAT kind of stain.
Michael seems to be describing a self-absorbed, restless spirit yearning for more.
Sounds like me in my early 20’s.
“Boy in the Well” is on the cusp of being solid…..
Historically, I’d say my skip ratio is at about 50% for this track,
as opposed to 98% for the previous two.
For 5 minutes and 22 seconds, R.E.M. do an excellent job replicating
“that sinking feeling” of a long term relationship about to end….
Job well done, R.E.M….Not exactly a Friday night song, but that’s fine…..
(The bridge moves me every time.)
The Middle Group: (in no particular order)
“Make it All Okay”
All B, B+ songs….
No urges to skip any of these, ever….
They don’t make too many playlists, though.
The Cream of the Crop:
These last 5 songs are easily in my all-time R.E.M. Top 50…
(Day #2 of quitting now has a purpose…Maybe I’ll go Top 75 ).
They ALL have landed on numerous playlists over the years,
and they bring me great joy when I sing along to them.
All A-, A songs.
“Leaving New York”
“I Wanted to be Wrong”
“High Speed Train”
“The Ascent of Man”
“Around the Sun”
R.E.M. are great because Michael Stipe is great.
Imagine substituting Jeff Tweedy in for Michael.
I think you’d have a really nice band, but it wouldn’t be a great band.
(Just the same, imagine Michael with Wilco…
Like the sound of a train wreck?)
To take nothing away from Tweedy,
whom I admire and respect,
but Michael Stipe puts all other lead singers to shame.
His pen bleeds honesty and truth;
his poetry, vulnerable at times, is sung with conviction
as he passionately debates and defends the great mysteries of the human heart…..
(And he makes it look easy)
Tweedy might be in the same ballpark as a poet,
but at the end of the day, he’s no Freddy Mercury.
(Jeff would be quick to agree with me, I’m sure.)
Stipe is great because Mills, Buck and Berry are great.
As is the case with most of R.E.M.‘s distinguished catalog,
the music backing Michael serves its purpose;
it paints the overall mood with vivid colors and appropriate shapes,
it’s occasionally moving,
but, most importantly,
the music inspires Michael to bring out his mega-phone
and proudly sing the good news (even if it’s bad news)……
R.E.M.’s music protects Michael,
like a big brother should,
but it also encourages Michael to shoot for the stars…….Which he does, beautifully.
To me, Michael is the perfect marriage of introspective poet
and goose-bump soul singer…..
And he happens to play with a kick-ass jazz band
that steals the show by not trying to steal the show.
Know what i’m saying?
Long live the spirit of R.E.M!
Joe (from Wisconsin)
I honestly think the image of John Kerry windsurfing lost him the election.
I want to thank Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry for inspiring me as a musician….My lyrics don’t hold a candle to Stipe’s, but, if you take a listen, you might be able to hear the influence…..
(or just click on my name to get there…)
I’m sorry, but y’all forgot about Metric….
Metric’s Synthetica is a brilliant light in an otherwise dark, uninspiring sea of BORING.
Y’all just don’t get it.
…………is this a joke?…….