R.E.M.'s Murmur (33 1/3 Series) by J. Niimi

By J. Niimi

R.E.M.'s debut album, published in 1983, was once up to now faraway from the present developments of yank well known song that it nonetheless sounds superb and out of time this present day. J. Niimi tells the tale of the album's genesis - with attention-grabbing enter from Don Dixon and Mitch Easter. He additionally investigates Michael Stipe's hypnotic, mysterious lyrics, and makes the case for Murmur as a piece of Southern Gothic art.

In the process an interview that happened a few two decades in the past, Michael Stipe made passing connection with an essay that had a deep influence on him. It's what got here to his brain while, after having been harangued through fanatics and reporters alike approximately Murmur's lyrics, already grown weary from having to repeatedly entertain their large speculations, he eventually threw up his arms. "Anyone who relatively desires to determine the phrases to our songs should still most likely learn this essay, then return and listen," Stipe informed the interviewer. "It talks approximately how humans misread whatever that's being stated, and are available up with a bit word or observe that really defines the essence of what the unique was once greater than the unique did." What Stipe was once attempting to say is if you will have solutions to R.E.M., you're not just having a look within the incorrect position, you're additionally asking the inaccurate questions.

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Extra resources for R.E.M.'s Murmur (33 1/3 Series)

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No. Were they creative and musical? Yes. Did they have one of the most unique (and therefore controversial) sounds around? Yes. Were they misunderstood by many fellow musicians, the kinds of guys who would go to the music store and play Joe Satriani licks to show off? Yes. NOTES 1. It’s almost comical to listen to the Murmur songs on the band’s early bootlegs. The songs were all there, • 22 • MURMUR 2. 3. 4. 5. but the playing is so spastic it’s almost hard to believe these guys had aspirations beyond punk.

Easter joins in with the Musser vibes on the second verse, harmonizing the six notes. The drum tracks on the song are relatively untreated, with the only obvious reverb effect showing up on Berry’s tom fills as a thunderous accent behind the “escape momentum” lyric. The acoustic guitar here, and • 28 • MURMUR throughout Murmur, is Easter’s 1956 Gibson LG-1, which Buck also used on Chronic Town—as Easter says, “a small, bottom-of-the-line model which still has that excellent projecting midrange that is characteristic of Gibsons.

The crew worked on the album on and off for about a month over the course of January and February. Since the studio’s log book from this period is missing, accounts of the actual amount of time spent in the studio vary: Buck has said it was as low as “about fourteen days,” while other estimates have it at around sixteen or seventeen days total, and one accounting puts it as high as twentyfour days. By all accounts, the album sessions went smoothly— the band played great; Dixon, Easter, and the band got along well (beyond a few heated disagreements about arrangement and production details), and despite a generous amount of beer-quaffing the band was all about business.

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