Days like today make me both nostalgic and more than a little angry. So rather than grinding my molars and let the blood pressure run up, my favorite coping mechanism is putting on a slice of music from an earlier period of life — a simpler time.
Not that I ever imagined that the 1980s would be considered a simpler, almost quaint era, but that’s what abdication of the historical role of government providing for the common self-defense does to you.
I was a huge REM fan in grad school. Document and Life’s Rich Pageant got constant play (a classic two sided recorded tape, back in the day of — wait for it — cassettes) as did Murmur and Reckoning.
Those tapes were a staple of every road trip. Way back when, cars had cassette players built into them, and CD players were a rare luxury. Those tapes lived in an old girlfriend’s 300ZX.
For those of you who may not be all that familiar with them, here’s a great review of R.E.M., as well as the wikipedia entry.
Given what a sucker I am for a good cover song, you can imagine that when I heard Cry Cry Cry’s version of Fall On Me I’d be all over it:
Original IRS video for Fall On Me:
And there is a live version of the song here.
R.E.M. has a forthcoming CD/DVD release, R.E.M. LIVE., recorded in Dublin, coming out in October.
“DUDE, KICK HIS ASS!”
The Kid was standing in front of a pistol-wielding madman who was ten feet tall, pulsing with evil energy, and he didn’t care. Drifting, remembering. He’d been through so much since leaving Little Rock. He missed his mom and dad, and he couldn’t wait to go home and tell them that he’d figured some things out, that he felt well, that he felt better now than he had in a long, long time. Hopefully they’d understand. Chop wood, carry water. Annie are you okay? Are you okay? Will you tell us that you’re okay? Singing, ‘You are, you are, yes, you are.’ And nothing else compares!
The Kid stared up at the Emperor and ploughed ahead. “LET’S NAME A GOD WE ALL AGREE. SECRET STOP-STOP IT WILL END. WE COULD BIND IT IN THE CYST. WE COULD GATHER THROW A FIT!” He was singing a true and pure and powerful song at the top of his lungs, screaming its lyrics at the madman who was confused and now somehow shrinking in front of everyone. “UP TO PAR AND KATIE BARS THE KITCHEN SIGNS MY NIGHTMARE ENDS; SIT IN TRAFFIC NOT VACATED, WASTED TIME, SITTING STILL. I’M THE SUN AND YOU COULD READ. I’M THE SUN AND SHE’S NOT DEAF!”
The Kid pointed to Lupe again. He was bouncing up and down now, holding his arms out wide at his sides, beaming, happy, and free. The power, his source, he’d found it. He was on fire. “I CAN HEAR YOU!” he sang out, “I CAN HEAR YOU! I CAN HEAR YOU! CAN YOU HEAR ME?”
(Barry, you are one totally cool mofo. Take no prisoners / long live r.e.m.)
Berry you rock!
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.
I’ve really enjoyed your musical recommendations, which fill my six disk player in my car, but it’s sad that you didn’t have the Dead, the Band, Janis, and so many other groups as you matured. The Cry, Cry, Cry REM cover sounds like Fleetwood Mac, good, but not great.
Meanwhile, there’s no finer musical moment in history than when KSAN in SF played Dancin in the Street when Nixon resigned.
BR: I grew up with a lot of great music, courtesy of my friends older brothers: The Who, Rolling Stones, Zep, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, CSNY, Dire Straits, CCR, Steely Dan, Beach Boys, etc.
I was never huge into the Dead, but liked a lot of songs; same with the Band, Janis, Airplane, etc.
I had the privilege to see R.E.M. live in Rio de Janeiro (Rock in Rio) in 2001. There were over a hundred thousand people there in the open (I think it was an airfield), well past midnight and the energy was absolutely amazing.
The one I love, Losing my religion, It’s the end of the world…
I remember first time I heard Driver 8. I was a passenger driving up to Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. I had chills. It was playing on CHOM FM out of Montreal.
I kind of wished they would have stopped after Document.
BR, glad to hear that a bright guy like you is aware of, and unhappy about, government not properly providing for our common self-defense, which should be job number one.
I’m a little younger than you: I was a fresh-out-of-college Naval Officer stationed in Athens, Georgia in ’85-’86, REM’s hometown. I did not get to hear them live, but certainly came to be a big fan of theirs, and have ‘Fall on Me’ on my 2GB chip in my Treo.
Keep up the good work, sir.
What’s the frequency Kenneth?
REM and U2 got me thru the 80s …both bands are awesome, yet probably the only music that aged well from that decade.
On the flip side, recessions/wars tend to generate the best in rock …wonder what we will receive this time around?
“Losing My Religion,” “It’s The End of The World as We Know it,” and “Oh Life is Bigger.” Has to make one realize how temparary life is; yet we fight, because the other guy wants to, or need to, because the other guy doesn’t feel a need to? “Carry on wayward son.”
Great song and cover. Perfect soundtrack for the chart of KFY, eh?
When do you cover your short? Looking awfully oversold but you are the trader, not me. Maybe it’s the end of employment as we know it…..
I liked REM better back when you couldn’t decipher the lyrics.
“Seven chinese brothers something something something something something”
I was in CEGEP at the time (between high school and University in Quebec). I got myself a black leather coat at a army/second hand store. Cool at the time. Only acceptable color was black then. Times were easier with no no money (CITI was the only one to offer us a credit card with a limit of WOW! 300$). Since everything was black, everything matched!
Too many colors now, that’s why I’m convinced we’re at the peak.
The nice thing about cassettes, was that one could record onto them from the radio and such.
Not digging the cover-sorry Barry. The original is too much of a masterpiece.
I don’t know if you R.E.M. fans like Hitchcock of The Soft Boys, but here they are playing together.
Rapid Eye Movement – trip out dude. That’s cool.
If you like their stuff and classic rock Barry, there is a hella cool Grateful Dead bootleg w/Janis song called “Scarlet Begonias” that will boggle your mind.
I like Hem’s version of South Central Rain. A lot. Check archive.org or iTunes for an MP3…
Be sure to get one of their newer albums too – “Up” – it has some amazingly creative stuff on there. I love the song “At My Most Beautiful” which is very Brian Wilsonish. That whole CD is pretty underrated. I also remember listening to the Connells right along with REM… Now the guitarist from the Connells is selling real estate. Too sad.