Song of the Day #4,935: ‘7 Chinese Bros.’ – R.E.M.

Continuing my look at 1984, first by counting down my own top five albums of that year.

#1. Reckoning – R.E.M.

Thirteen years ago, I named R.E.M.’s Reckoning as their fourth-best album, an opinion I’ll stand by today as I declare it my favorite album of 1984. The alternative rock legends’ second full-length release captures so much about when makes them one of the all-time greats.

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Song of the Day #4,574: ‘(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville (Live)’ – R.E.M.

Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…

(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville‘ – R.E.M. (1984)

If I weren’t limiting my Favorite Songs playlist to one song per artist, R.E.M. is the band that may well have landed more than one track in the lineup. ‘Driver 8,’ ‘Maps and Legends,’ ‘Half a World Away’ and ‘So. Central Rain’ all were finalists for this list.

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Song of the Day #3,310: ‘Harborcoat’ – R.E.M. vs. Bob Dylan

Ah, here we have my first truly difficult Round Three pick in Montauk Madness. R.E.M. vs. Bob Dylan. Two acts I’ve loved and obsessed over since the tenth grade.

R.E.M. got here by unanimously defeating Stew in Round One then winning a surprisingly tight contest against Rihanna with just 55% of the vote. Bob Dylan had an easier path, besting Miranda Lambert with 78% then Eminem with 89%. I’m still pissed the random sorting put Lambert in that position. Continue reading

Song of the Day #675: ‘(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville’ – R.E.M.

A year after Murmur, R.E.M. released their first truly great album, 1984’s Reckoning.

This collection of songs was a little less experimental and a little more full-bodied than the tracks on their debut, and while Stipe’s lyrics continued to confound, he managed to slip in some words of real substance.

Reckoning‘s songs were darker than anything the band had recorded before, several inspired by the recent death of a friend.

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Song of the Day #200: ‘So. Central Rain’ – R.E.M.

reckoningFor my second single-band theme week (actually fourth, counting the two Beatles weeks I did several months ago) I am turning to another of my very favorite groups, R.E.M.

I’ll proceed chronologically today through Friday, as I did with Belle & Sebastian, hoping to demonstrate how the band’s sound has changed (or hasn’t) over the years.

Kicking the week off is ‘So. Central Rain,’ which I consider in many ways the quintessential R.E.M. song. Though their debut album Murmur was a critical success and a breakthrough for them, it was their second album Reckoning, and this song in particular, that really defined their sound.

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