Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Top 105 R.E.M. songs of all time Part 5 (21-1)

Here it is, finally. The last part of my all time best R.E.M. songs of all time. You can see the previous songs on my past blogs. This is the good stuff, their best stuff in my humble opinion. You may not agree with me but that is just fine. If you would like to comment please feel free. This one is going to have more videos in it so you can get a better grasp of the reasons why these are my top 21 favorite songs. There is some really good stuff here. Again I will be giving commentary on it, some long some very short. So here it is the long awaited final 21 Best songs of R.E.M. Enjoy.

21. TURN YOU INSIDE-OUT: from Green: A peppy poppy song to get you started. Green was all about the peppy and this one is no exception. My favorite part is Michael Stipe's long drown out inside-out in the chorus. Classic.

20. LOW DESERT: from New Adventures in Hi-Fi: To me this is a great travel song. A song about what seems to me as travelling across country. It's got a low rhythmic blues type feel to it with some outstanding guitar work from Peter Buck and Mike Mills. And considering this was written and recorded while on the road for the Monster concert tour, it feels like a perfect song for a great travel album.

19. DAYSLEEPER: from Up: A fantastic song that seems a tad depressing but is still a great listen and does not make me sad, it has great lyrics and a great story behind it. It details the travails of a person who works overnights and their mindset which is not always sunny, but not to depressing, just kind of sad. But a great slow song and a good break from the rockers they churn out.

18. UBERLIN: from Collapse Into Now: When Collapse Into Now came out, I had just been in a car accident a few days before. My car was totalled and while I was figuring out what I was going to do, I was given a loaner car since the accident was not my fault. It had a nice CD player, and to cheer myself up I bought the album the day it came out and played it in the loaner car. And played it everyday I had that loaner car. it helped cheer me up, and this song is by far my favorite on the whole album. This one got repeated a ton of times. A classic in their last studio album. The video is a hoot also, pure REM. Check it out.

17. CARNIVAL OF SORTS: from Chronic Town  Can you believe that 1 song from their very first 5 or 6 track cd made it as high as Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars) as it is also sometimes called. But it's true, and again it is one of those that I never really thought much about til I started working on this list, and I heard this and was transfixed all over again. This is a great rocker that shows the band at it's best while still raw. It has train imagery that filled Fables of The Reconstruction and this song could very well have easily fit into this album. Instead this is from their very first album and it is awesome. The video I have linked to it is from an Old Nickelodeon show in either 82 or 83, not 85 as the title states. The song is awesome but check out the crazy dancing.

16. SO FAST SO NUMB: from New Adventures in Hi-Fi: The one two punch of Bittersweet Me (coming next) and this song is one of the best 1-2 punches REM has ever done on their albums. If you can get past the glaringly sexual themes of this song, you get a great rocker that complements the song before it.

15. BITTERSWEET ME: from New Adventures in Hi-Fi: While both songs are great, this one to me is the better of the two. It also is not sexual like So Fast So Numb. Instead you get another great rocker with some stellar Michael Stipe singing. Both Bittersweet Me and So Fast So Numb are a great pairing if you want some good Southern rocking.

14. LEAVING NEW YORK: from Around the Sun: The only other really good song from this mediocre album is a tale of leaving a loved one and is a nice reflective quiet song. That talks about loss but in a good way. A good song to listen to while you recover from a broken heart.

13. BAD DAY: from In Time: Best of REM: This song has an interesting backstory. It is one of REM's oldest songs, but it never got released until the late 90s. It also shares a similar framework to End of the World as we know it. Apparently when this song did not come together, they took aspects of it and created End of the World as we know it. But to add some new songs to their 2 disc greatest hits set they reworked it into one of their better songs. A great peppy upbeat song about having a bad day. Good to listen to when you are having a bad day. You may very well find yourself singing along with it, like I do.

12. IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT (AND I FEEL FINE): from Document: Another of their songs that everyone knows. Used in various movies this peppy list song as Stipe calls it is basically Stipe singing a laundry list of unrelated things in between the chorus. I remember my Freshman year of college. My roomate had to decipher every lyric for the song. He asked me for help and I did my best but it goes by so fast and some of it you can't understand. That being said, a brillant fun song about the end of the world.

11. GET UP: from Green:  A fantastic, short, to the point song with a fun chorus that is great to sing to.

10. CUYAHOGA: from Lifes Rich Pagent: An environmental song about the Cuyahoga river, a river that due to so much pollution once caught fire, a river caught fire. But beside the message it conveys you get a real slower song with a fantastic chorus that is pure brillance from the lyrics to the music.

9. FIND THE RIVER: from Automatic For The People:  My second favorite song from Automatic for the People is a nice chill kind of song with a great southern quality to it. Makes me think about Tom Sawyer (the story not the song) whenever I hear it. Or a nice leisurely cruise down the river. Nice, sweet, zen song.

8. DRIVER 8: from Reconstruction of The Fables: Early REM always seemed to have an obsession with trains. And that's fine. Because without it we would never get this brillant train song from early in their career. Just a great story song with a kicking beat.

7. DON'T GO BACK TO ROCKVILLE: from Reckoning: I'm from Baltimore, which is not that far away from Washington DC. I had family that lived outside of DC. So going down to the see them on 95 I always think of this song, since we pass the exit for Rockville. This song is about Rockville, Maryland. It's documented. This is one of the few songs where Mike Mills the great backup singer gets to be on the forefront because this song is about an old girlfriend of his who lived in Rockville, MD. Whenever REM played in the Baltimore/Washington area they always played this song. And Mills does a great job of singing. The below video was filmed at Merriwheater Post Pavilion in 2008, the last time REM came to Baltimore.

6. TEXARKANA:  from Out of Time: Another Mike Mills special. Mike is also one of the reasons I love this band. Stipe was given a very able back up singer in Mills, and Stipe knew how well he had it with Mills that let him be the main singer of a few songs. A coda to the previous list. Mills did not originally sing Rockville when it first came out, but he did do the majority of the writing for it. And it's based on a real event in his life. Over the last few years Stipe has allowed him to sing it because it is his song. However back to Texarkana, this is all Mills. Perfect, fun, travel song, and Mills is great in it.

5. PERFECT CIRCLE: from Murmur: A wonderful, wonderful slow song, that is just incredible. Heartbreaking but hopeful at the same time. Everything clicks on this song. When I first started getting into REM, this was my favorite REM song. It was so great that I wrote my first screenplay and titled it Perfect Circle has an homage to this song. Beautiful song. LOVE IT!!

4. I'LL TAKE THE RAIN: from Reveal: Another heartbreaking song that is just so good. SO sweet. So wonderful. It may be slightly depressing, but it's a song about a breakup and breakups are hard. But just like all their depressing songs, it has a very hopeful feeling to it as well.

3. PILGRIMAGE: from Murmur: I know this probably surprises a lot of people because most people even fans have never heard the song before. One of the things I love about it is how layered it is. Multiple layers of vocals, music, etc., all combine to make a perfectly great song that has a bit of quiet in it, but at the same time gets you popping as well, and that is the multiple layers. It is almost dreamlike in some aspects.
This song would probably be very hard to do live since there are so many layers to it.

2. THE GREAT BEYOND: from In Time: The Best Of REM: Originally written for the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon starring Jim Carrey, it always surprises me how this song could not have been nominated for an Oscar, IT IS THAT GOOD. It is so good that it just misses being the # 1 REM song of all time by a hair. This is a great Andy Kaufman esqe song with great performances from all involved, the Chorus is phenomenal, and the lyrics are pitch perfect. The music is cool and makes for a song I could listen to on REPEAT for a very long time. Absolutley perfect.

1. MAN ON THE MOON: from Automatic for the People: This wins because it is the epitome of what REM is, a Southern Rock Band, with a Southern Rock song that epitomized who REM was. This song has everything, the twangy guitars, the great singing, great backup singing, a strange song with interesting yet head scratching lyrics, an ode to Andy kaufman. That was so cool that a movie about Andy Kaufman not only titled it after the song but had REM do the score for it. This is REM, and it is a great song.

That's it. The top 105 REM songs of all time as chosen by me. By all means I would love to hear comments and questions about it. I also have a YouTube Playlist that is public that has all 105 songs on it. So if you want to hear some of the other songs that I did not post Videos for, please check it out. it has been posted on Facebook and soon Twitter. Thanks for hanging with me!

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