I won’t explain why I break a band like R.E.M.’s career into decades. If you must know…go look though the blog history. Here’s a history of R.E.M. according to me.
In 1983, I remember first hearing Murmur being played by a neighbor’s house when his older sister locked herself in her room in a defiant act of teen rebellion. Me and my neighbors used to sit outside and listen to the album through the crack in her window. As a youth I thought Radio Free Europe meant the band was European.
In 1984, I heard Reckoning when a babysitter and her boyfriend came over one night. They played Pretty Persuasion about 50 times in a row. I hated the song until college when I finally was able to listen to it again with some passion.
In 1985, I remember visiting Disneyland with my family and hearing Driver 8 on the radio. It was in heavy rotation during our vacation. I had just gotten a pair of headphones and I listened to KROQ religiously that trip. I can distinctly remember waiting in line and bouncing my head along to the song.
In 1986, Life’s Rich Pageant might as well be the soundtrack to my life in Junior High School. I would listen to that album on the way to school, when I got home, and in between class. I had memorized almost every song on the album so I could zone out when my teacher’s droned on and listen to the album in my head.
In 1987, Document made an explosion onto MTV with the half-naked skater boy in the abandoned house. I can’t think back to early days of MTV without that video coming to mind and trying to decioher why such a complex song, It’s the End of the World had such a simplistic video.
In 1989, Green became one of my high school staples. I can’t imagine a bus trip that didn’t go by when I didn’t throw the cassette into my Walkman and zone out to World Leader Pretend or rock out to Orange Crush. I also remember being pissed off that MTV put black boxes over the half naked women in the Pop Song 89 video…what can I say…I was a teenage boy?
Here are the 11 Best Songs By R.E.M. of the 80s:
1. Pretty Persuasion (Reckoning)
2. These Days (Life’s Rich Pageant)
3. Talk About The Passion (Murmur)
4. Harborcoat (Reckoning)
5. Orange Crush (Green)
6. The One I Love (Document)
7. Carnival of Sorts (Chronic Town)
8. Begin The Begin (Life’s Rich Pageant)
9. So. Central Rain (Reckoning)
10. Pop Song 89 (Green)
11. Driver 8 (Fables of Reconstruction)
Buy R.E.M.’s new album, Collapse Into Now….now!!