Sunday, March 09, 2008

518. R.E.M. - Murmur (1983)

Track Listing

1. Radio Free Europe
2. Pilgrimage
3. Laughing
4. Talk About the Passion
5. Moral Kiosk
6. Perfect Circle
7. Catapult
8. Sitting Still
9. 9-9
10. Shaking Through
11. We Walk
12. West of the Fields


Much of what R.E.M. will eventually be can already be heard here, and that has the interesting side-effect of making the album sound like it came from the early 90's rather than the early 80's, seeing as that is when R.E.M. get famous. Nonetheless, their whole aesthetic is pretty much here.

This is not an album that is immediately loveable, it does take a while to sink in, with the possible exception of Radio Free Europe, the most famous song of the album, deservedly. The rest of the tracks might be initially bland, but as you go along with the album they will slowly sink in to make a very strong album indeed.

We might all be jaded now to what R.E.M. sound like, but if we were listening to them for the first time in 1983 we certainly wouldn't be. And it is this originality which really shows them as the artists that they are. So the great seeds of something great are definitely here and starting to sprout.

Track Highlights

1. Radio Free Europe
2. Catapult
3. Pilgrimage
4. Perfect Circle

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The cover art features sepia-toned photos of a trestle and kudzu vines covering the ground and nearby trees. The song titles are written over the brown tones in blue, rendering them almost unreadable, particularly with "Moral Kiosk" cutting vertically through the titles.

The trestle featured on the album's cover, originally part of the Georgia Railroad line into downtown Athens, has become something of a local landmark. Plans to demolish the trestle, now commonly referred to as the "Murmur Trestle," met with public outcry. On October 2, 2000, the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission voted to save the trestle.

Radio Free Europe:

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