Song of the Day #4,880: ‘Swan Swan H’ – R.E.M.

‘Swan Swan H’ is the penultimate track on R.E.M.’s 1986 album Lifes Rich Pageant, though it was listed last on the packaging because a cover of the song ‘Superman’ was left off.

This album was the band’s fourth, and the first to move into more rock territory after the murky alternative pop of their first three releases. I slotted this album as #3 on my list of R.E.M. releases when I ranked them back in 2008.

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Song of the Day #4,615: ‘King of Comedy’ – R.E.M.

My lord, has it really been 27 years since R.E.M. released Monster? I remember being taken aback by the volume and aggression of this album coming on the heels of 1992’s Automatic For the People, but mostly loving the results.

R.E.M. said they wanted to make a loud album after the mostly acoustic Out of Time and Automatic For the People, and Monster certainly fit the bill. Soaked in reverb, this mashup of glam rock and grunge sounds like nothing else in the band’s catalog, for better and worse.

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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 songsā€¦

(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 #4,523: ‘9-9’ – R.E.M.

‘9-9’ (pronounced “nine to nine,” according to bassist Mike Mills) is a deep cut on R.E.M.’s debut album, 1983’s Murmur.

Murmur is a fascinating album because it not only introduced the jangly pop and soulful folk rock that R.E.M. would perfect, but also weird, discordant, soft-punk songs like this one that pointed to some of the odd detours the band would take throughout their career.

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Song of the Day #4,419: ‘Toys in the Attic’ – R.E.M.

It’s a weekend of cover songs from the Random iTunes Fairy. Today’s track was an outtake from the sessions for R.E.M.’s 1986 album Lifes Rich Pageant.

Aerosmith’s ‘Toys in the Attic‘ was the title song, and first track, of a 1975 album that also featured the hits ‘Walk This Way’ and ‘Sweet Emotion.’ Though it reached only #11 on the Billboard chart, that album has sold more copies than any other Aerosmith record.

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