Song of the Day #203: ‘Crush with Eyeliner’ – R.E.M.

monsterR.E.M. followed Automatic for the People with the grunge and feedback overload of Monster, the most love-it-or-hate-it album in their catalog.

I fall into the “love” category, though I do lose patience for a couple of songs toward the end of the album. But the first ten songs are twisted and glorious, none more so than ‘Crush With Eyeliner.’

I don’t know exactly what the song is about, just that it’s a warped love song. I’ve read suggestions that it’s either about a transvestite or Courtney Love (I should insert a transvestite/Courtney Love joke here, but I can’t think of one that won’t be offensive to transvestites).

What I love best about this song — apart from the heavy reverb and growling vocals — is how thoroughly it sounds like R.E.M. while sounding nothing at all like anything they’d recorded previously. R.E.M. has sometimes lost their way over the years, but here’s an example of them going out on a limb with glorious results.

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #203: ‘Crush with Eyeliner’ – R.E.M.

  1. Amy says:

    I can’t tell you how excited, practically giddy, I was when I just popped on to your blog to find “Crush with Eyeliner” was the song featured today. Just what I needed alongside my coffee to get my day started. I was disappointed when the clip you had chosen had been removed by those YouTubians. Still, when I found their live performance on Letterman of the song – which apparently they performed 12 years after their debut on Letterman – with no appearance between the two, I felt better 🙂

    So cool to see those clips side by side, especially since R.E.M. – and esp. Michael Stipe – are MONSTERS this time out. Such a tight, powerful and confident band – though Michael still slinks off to the edge of the stage the moment the song ends. Such an intriguing and odd man he is.

    Anyway, I ADORE this song. Just ADORE it. I don’t even know why. It is one of those songs that gets under your skin and down into your pores and just works on you. Oh, now I’m going to go read what you have to say about it 🙂 … brb… yeah, what he said. Oh, and lol at your inablility to come up with a transvetite/Courtney Love joke that wouldn’t be offensive to transvestites. Looks like you were able after all.

  2. Clay says:

    Found a new video… I hope this one survives.

  3. pegclifton says:

    What an odd man is right, wonder if he is autistic? Just a thought. I do like their music though.

  4. Dana says:

    I guess I fall into the hate category on Monster, or at least strong dislike. It was, to me, a very disappointing follow-up to Automatic, which I adored. This song is fine, but it doesn’t get under my skin (as it apparently does for Amy and maybe Clay). I just don’t really like the grunge sound, even when it’s being done by REM. Unfortunately, I have also found that much of REM’s subsequent work has been more in the vein of Monster then their earlier sound. When I am in the mood for REM, I reach for Fables, Pageant and Automatic. I don’t reach for MOnster or really anything they have done since.

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