Album: Murmur (I.R.S.,1983) Chart pos: US#78
Music that you can dance to.
R.E.M are one of those bands i usually find either unbearably twee or unbearably sullen so it came as massive shock that after listening to their debut album Murmur i was thoroughly impressed. Their first single Radio Free Europe starts with an echoy drum machine intro before launching into Peter Buck’s trademark jangly guitars while Micheal Stipe showcases his spontaneous stream of consciousness lyrics. The song beautifully recreates Bryds/Big Star jangle pop sound in a more DIY lo-fi post-punk-indie aesthetic much similar to what the Paisley Underground bands in LA were doing at the same time. There is a school of thought that R.E.M. didn’t make anything of merit since 1986 which is something I am starting to agree with and it isn’t down to some kind of haughty musical purism.
The video below is a so bad its good American Bandstand clip where people are dancing like idiots to Radio Free Europe (betcha you don’t see this at an R.E.M gig). Especially the bloke with his hands in his pockets thrusting his crotch in the cameras direction at 0:38.