Song of the Day #4,291: ‘Talk About the Passion’ – R.E.M.

My favorite album of 1983 is maybe my fifth or sixth favorite album by the band who recorded it. But R.E.M. is so great that their fifth or sixth best album is sure to be better than just about anything else. And that’s the case with Murmur.

The band’s debut album has all of the hallmarks that would make them the godfathers of the alternative rock movement. Jangly guitars, indecipherable lyrics, minor key melodies, soaring choruses, and those wonderful Michael Stipe vocals with just the right combination of earnestness and indifference.

Murmur didn’t feature any big hits (‘Radio Free Europe’ came closest) but every song here is rich and memorable and serves as a template for the band’s next few albums.

R.E.M. had an excellent 90s but for my money the run that defines the band began with Murmur and ended with 1986’s Lifes Rich Pageant, with Reckoning and Fables of the Reconstruction sandwiched between. Those four records, taken together, are the musical time capsule I treasure arguably more than any other.

No band gives me the feels quite like R.E.M., and no R.E.M. does it quite like early R.E.M. So that makes Murmur an easy pick for the best of ’83.

Next week I’ll write about some 1983 albums that have remained mostly off of my radar.

[Verse]
Empty prayer, empty mouths
Combien reaction
Empty prayer, empty mouths
Talk about the passion
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world

[Chorus]
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion

[Verse]
Empty prayer, empty mouths
Combien reaction
Empty prayer, empty mouths
Talk about the passion
Combien
Combien
Combien de temps?

[Chorus]
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion

[Verse]
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Combien
Combien
Combien de temps?

[Chorus]
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,291: ‘Talk About the Passion’ – R.E.M.

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    “Radio Free Europe” was a fairly big hit on the indie college scene, though it probably didn’t connect with a broader audience.

    As I’m sure I’ve said before, my favorite REM albums came a bit later with Life’s Rich Pageant, Fables of the Reconstruction and culminating with Automatic for the People. So, Murmur wouldn’t be anywhere near thr top 20 for 1983 for me.

    Looking forward to your collection of 1983 albums that were off your radar.

  2. Amy says:

    Love your description of the REM sound and completely agree with you about this musical time capsule being one I, too, hold most dear, though mine is focused almost entirely on Life’s Rich Pageant and Fables.

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