Funny how opinions change over time. I’ve written about R.E.M.’s Out of Time a few times before but never in a very positive light. In posts eight and nine years ago I described it as one of the band’s weakest efforts.
Yet here I am in 2019, naming it as my #1 album of 1991. And it wasn’t even a tough decision.
I was shocked to discover that I’ve posted 3,808 Songs of the Day without once featuring a song from R.E.M.’s 1987 album Dead Letter Office.
This collection of B-sides, outtakes and loose ends was released between 1986’s Lifes Rich Pageant and 1987’s Document, which made an appearance on Random Weekends exactly one week ago.
‘Finest Worksong’ is the lead-off track on R.E.M.’s fifth studio album, 1987’s Document. It was the third single released, following the hits ‘The One I Love’ and ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).’
The band released an album per year from 1983 through 1988, including the holy trinity of Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction and Life’s Rich Pageant. This record followed those career-defining releases and was a bit of a departure both sonically and thematically.
Today’s Random Weekend SOTD, ‘Electron Blue,’ is one of the best songs on R.E.M.’s worst album, 204’s Around the Sun. It’s the album’s second track and third single.
‘Electron Blue’ is lead singer Michael Stipe’s favorite track from this album, and one of his favorite R.E.M. songs, period. I like it well enough, and agree that it’s a highlight of an otherwise unforgettable album, but I’m sorry, this doesn’t stand up to the best of R.E.M., not even close.
R.E.M. appeared on MTV’s Unplugged twice, a decade apart, in 1991 and 2001. The band was arguably a bigger deal on the earlier performance, which followed the release of the multi-platinum Out of Time and hit single ‘Losing My Religion.’
They would go on the achieve massive success through the mid-90s but by the new millennium things had changed. Drummer Bill Berry left the band and their most recent releases sold less than anything they’d recorded since joining a major label.
Note: I write these posts in advance, so as I’m scheduling this one, I have no idea if looming Hurricane Irma has laid waste to South Florida or spared us the worst of her wrath. I’m going to optimistically assume the latter and proceed as if it’s business as usual.
I roll my eyes at the Facebook equivalent of chain letters, where users are expected to post a certain thing in their status each day and encourage all of their friends to do the same. However, one I saw recently struck me as pretty good fodder for my blog, if not my Facebook page.
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