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Albums You've Listened To Today

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I streamed the new remix online and also a lot of the bonus tracks in the Super Deluxe Edition.

Some of the new mix seems better, a couple songs maybe not. Looking forward to my 2 CD copy version arriving next week.

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and then I also listened to my CD copy of this

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The late great Johnny Thunders. Johnny you were the best.

It's tragic how you were murdered

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This arrived so late in the day I'll have to finish it tomorrow. I skipped the outtakes CD to listen to the live show after the Don't Tell A Soul reboot. I've loved this band since the early-mid 80s. I love Westerberg's songs.

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well I just watched the movie Looking For Johnny and now I find maybe he wasn't murdered as I wish I could delete my post above, about

but still the victim of foul play when he had leukemia killing him as well by local hoods in New Orleans giving him powered LSD that he thought was cocaine and he flipped out and took so much methadone to try and come down it killed him, and they got his 20 grand he had on him in cash. The late Willy DeVille knew about this.

but enough about that

I listened to this before

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Includes the In Cold Blood E.P.

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I listened through Monster by R.E.M. for the first time last night and The Stage Names by Okkervil River not long before that. The Stage Names was certainly better, but as a huge R.E.M. fan, I had to type out my initial Monster reactions on my Facebook; I'll paste them below:

 

I listened through R.E.M.'s Monster for the first time last night. I'd heard it was somewhat polarizing, or maybe one that was more a commercial success than a popular record with serious R.E.M. fans, so I had kind of tempered expectations (which is probably why it took me a while to get around to it), and... yeah, it actually didn't even quite meet those, lol. It wasn't awful or seriously unpleasant top to bottom or anything, but I did not care for this album overall, and it definitely made a weaker impression on me than any other R.E.M. album I've heard (which is now all besides Up, Reveal, Around the Sun, and Collapse Into Now). Like, for the span of about a song I thought "Hey, they're always a kind of experimental, ever-evolving band, and this is at least a total departure and evolution for them, so that's kind of interesting!"... but, very soon, that gave way to feeling like, in this case, "departure" and "evolution" took the place of actual solid songwriting. Like, their albums before this have a pretty wide array of stuff, but it all feels purposeful and authentic; here, it's... different, sure!, but... still not particularly *good*.

Overall this kinda felt like a sell-out record -- which I know some absolute purists say about Out of Time or maybe even Automatic iirc, but those are probably my two favorites and I don't agree at all. This one, though, absolutely felt like it -- and I mean maybe that's wrong, I don't know what the band was thinking at the time. I doubt it WAS a sell-out record; they don't strike me as the type of band to do that, and they generally just kinda did what they felt like at any given time, I feel, so I imagine it was still an authentic release... but, like, "what they felt like" here was just kinda a wall of heavily-produced Noise and distorted guitars and otherwise seemingly "trendy" things at the expense of actual songwriting, so it FELT sell-out-y even if it wasn't really, and I ultimately didn't respect it all that much.

That said, there were still some good songs!!, so I'll get there; I'd say I liked the whole less than the sum of the parts here, if that makes sense, like if you average out my feelings on each individual song you probably end up neutral or lukewarm leaning positive, but the overall product just kinda tanked for me. Another stipulation is that, like, I'm hearing this album years and years AFTER knowing New Adventures in Hi-Fi and Accelerate; R.E.M. doing big, cool guitar sounds like this is just not new or novel to me. However, if I remind myself that this album followed Automatic for the People, it really WAS a huge departure and, while it wasn't one in a direction I'd have liked (I mean, Automatic is a basically perfect record, which this... is not), it at least keeps them alive -- and it's followed BY New Adventures in Hi-Fi, which I'm already more or less ready to call a superior work in every way. Pretty much all my favorite Monster moments where when I thought "Hey, this could have been on New Adventures", haha.

So, like, as a step within R.E.M.'s evolution as a band, if I sat down and focused on each album, in full, start to end, as I need to do? Then, yeah, maybe I'd at least appreciate this one as something different and a stepping stone to New Adventures, and maybe I'll get there in time (I've only heard the album once alol so a lot of these opinions aren't final). And it DID have some tracks I outright enjoyed. But I'd say I was expecting a little more out of it, considering how well-known some of these songs are or how much I've heard their titles, and I didn't care for it. My more recent R.E.M. discovery has been oriented on really, really getting into Chronic Town and Murmur (both of which I've known for a while but are only just starting to hit me), and I'd say that's probably a better direction and thing for me to focus on before putting too much more effort into this one, for now.

Here's my ROUGH, TENTATIVE track ranking, after a single listen:

1) I Don't Sleep, I Dream -- Wrote in my notes for this song that it would be, like, a mid-low tier New Adventures song, so lol at it ending up at the TOP here, but basically it felt similar to that album yet still distinct since it had the kind of poppier drums found throughout a lot of the album which, here, felt more purposeful. As a song where the more, like, commercially successful, trendy aspects of this album actually sounded good and had a purpose and which also was a glimpse into the superior work on the horizon, it ended up my favorite, following two of the weaker songs on the album.

2) Star 69 -- This song kinda reminded me of "It's the End..." (cbf to type full title, ever) in the, like, rapid-fire vocal delivery style, yet at the same time sounded nothing like an R.E.M. song at all (of course, "It's the End..." is itself an atypical one in many ways), since the whole tone of the song was cloaked in the distorted, rockin' aesthetic of the whole thing. It was very frantic, struck me pretty quickly as VERY cool and one I liked more than almost anything else, and it at once sounded like and sounded *nothing* like an R.E.M. song, which I guess is the sign of it being an interesting song developmentally. I could see it rising to my #1 in time, we'll see, but yeah I Don't Sleep/Star 69 was a solid pair. I think part of why it didn't rank #1 is because I didn't like how abruptly it ended, but I Don't Sleep did the same thing, but here it was the second time in a row haha so I was like come on. Also I was playing Crash Team Racing while listening to the album and this song was just perfect for it, the frantic pace of it fit perfectly and if/when I make a playlist of rockin' songs for things like that, Star 69 will likely be there.

3) Strange Currencies -- Oh wow my top three are all in a row, huh. Wonder if I was just feeling the album more at that point. Anyways, I remember thinking that this song sounded quite a bit like Everybody Hurts, haha, although obviously it *sounded* very different. It was like the cooler older brother of Everybody Hurts that wears a nose ring. The Bill Weasley of Everybody Hurts. (Which would make Fred and George, what, "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite"?)

4) What's The Frequency, Kenneth? -- Opened the album in a more auspicious note than the next couple tracks led it down. I really liked the delivery of the title line, and this, like I said earlier, is where I kinda thought "Hey, this is moving them in an interesting direction!", and I was okay with it. Not a ton else stood out to me, and my first thought was "This is probably a terrible take any R.E.M. fan would hate, but wow, 'What's The Frequency, Kenneth?' wishes it were 'Departure'." But it was definitely decently enjoyable, and I bet it might grow on me if I listen to it on its own rather than surrounded by similar yet weaker tracks.

5) Let Me In -- This one was... very distinctive, compared to the others, which is at least something. This one had like a total wall of guitar that I kind of enjoyed and could see growing on me; like, I didn't love it, but I at least saw an angle where I eventually could get more into it, compared to the ones below. It at least stood out and had more of an identity.

6) I Took Your Name -- This also felt sort of like a lower-tier New Adventures song, and I started out thinking it was pretty good and would have had it above Let Me In at least; I also felt like I might like it more in a different, less sleepy mood to appreciate the guitar more -- but the harmonies at the end felt pretty cheesy, it was longer than it needed to be, and the more attention I started paying to it, the more I just didn't like it or think it held up to strong focus. So, I dunno, I was ambivalent.

7) You -- I didn't rank this one right after listening as I did with the others, but I think I thought "mostly forgettable but some kinda good elements", so it ranks here.

8) Bang and Blame -- Incredibly forgettable overall but I did like the outro.

9) Crush With Eyeliner -- There was a distortion here that was... interesting?, and I failed to have much of an opinion on it. I don't know. I kept wanting to like this song more than I did. After a strong opening track, this one hit and I was like "hmmm, not doing as much for me even though I want it to 1f615.png:/ "

10) King of Comedy -- With some of the lyrics, this made me wonder if this album was meant to be kind of a parody of its own genre, except that doesn't work when you do an entire album of it and play it pretty much straight. I felt like there was maybe a decent irony here lyrically or something, but I just couldn't care because the song itself sounded unpleasant and the production felt way too sanitized. That's a good word for my problem with this album -- too sanitized -- and I started to feel it here.

11) Circus Envy -- I didn't like it and almost immediately forgot why.

12) Tongue -- Yeah so one might expect this song to rank higher, considering it's basically the opposite of all my actual central problems with the album, and in theory is the one that "sounds" the most like a past R.E.M. song... but all it has going for it is that sound and that distinction from the rest of the album, because wow it was boring, aimless, and plodding. Some of the others I at least could be like "I mean, I see where or why someone COULD kinda like this.... or maybe if I listen to it in a really differet vibe I might", but this song just felt pretty pointless with its only real selling point being that it sounded like better songs from superior previous albums. Like, there's certain R.E.M. songs that sound like this, that are easy to write off as relatively forgettable, and that most fans don't care a whole ton about -- "Low", "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1", even "New Orleans Instrumental No. 2" come to mind -- but listening to this made me appreciate them more by contrast since at least they're building towards or around something or have some kind of purpose, which this song just didn't. I'm honestly kinda baffled by its existence because it feels like it's only there to throw a bone to people who want a "more typical R.E.M. song" which if so suggests to me that they somehow forgot how to actually write one well within the span of a couple years, or maybe the problem's just that they weren't there creatively I guess and like if they were in the mood to make all the guitar things they should have just stuck with that. Idk this wasn't awful but was so mediocre/forgettable that it was really aggravating haha and it just felt like an aimless waste of time.

But we'll see how some of these grow on me over time! For now I'll keep focusing on brushing up my knowledge of and interest in the superior early work, which will keep me riding the R.E.M. high I'm on much more than focusing on this oddity is, but I'll also listen to songs like Star 69 and Frequency out of the context of the album a little more, since I bet that'll help me dig them more.

As far as albums I've listened to for the first time in the past ~48 hours go, Okkervil River's "The Stage Names" was far superior!

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Is anyone here an Okkervil River fan, though? The Stage Names was much better, and based off this album, I could absolutely see some Bruce fans digging Okkervil River. I mean they aren't 100% similar or anything, but I see a bit of overlap.

 

This is a solid track off the album I hadn't known before that has tons of lyrical allusions to other well-known songs (including one to R.E.M. -- we come full circle! -- no Bruce here, though):

 

And this song is one I've actually known for years; it's the one that compelled me to finally check out the rest of the album and remains my favorite track:

 

 

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2 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

Overall this kinda felt like a sell-out record -- which I know some absolute purists say about Out of Time or maybe even Automatic iirc, but those are probably my two favorites and I don't agree at all. This one, though, absolutely felt like it -- and I mean maybe that's wrong, I don't know what the band was thinking at the time. I doubt it WAS a sell-out record; they don't strike me as the type of band to do that, and they generally just kinda did what they felt like at any given time, I feel, so I imagine it was still an authentic release... but, like, "what they felt like" here was just kinda a wall of heavily-produced Noise and distorted guitars and otherwise seemingly "trendy" things at the expense of actual songwriting, so it FELT sell-out-y even if it wasn't really, and I ultimately didn't respect it all that much.

What they wanted to do: [from my memories from interviews with the band around that time]; R.E.M. had suddenly become one of the world's greatest bands, with their two best-selling albums and with no tour in support of both albums. Because they were tired of touring. They had spent most of their career up to Green in the album-tour-album-tour cycle. So after the tour in support of Green they decided they would not tour for some time. And after Automatic they had reached a point where they thought they could go not any further and had to do something else. And they wanted to tour again.

So they wrote some guitar-driven songs that were rather different from Out Of Time and Automatic; songs they could play live, a more rock sound. (Mike Mills even said Monster was a 'punk album'; if this was meant to be serious is doubtful).

Well. Monster did not get very good reviews on release; actually the first time in R.E.M.'s career they got some really negative reviews. But many fans seem to like, or even love, the album (as I said in the R.E.M. topic, I am not a big fan of Monster (nor do I dislike it); I like more the album as an enjoyable album to listen to, from start to finish  [if you are in the right mood for it]; I am not really a fan of any individual song on the album. More than the sum of its parts, then).

And I don't think most R.E.M. fans think they 'sold out' with Out Of Time and Automatic. But as I said in the R.E.M. topic, when 'your band' suddenly becomes very big; weird and mixed feelings.

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4 hours ago, Lampi said:

What they wanted to do: [from my memories from interviews with the band around that time]; R.E.M. had suddenly become one of the world's greatest bands, with their two best-selling albums and with no tour in support of both albums. Because they were tired of touring. They had spent most of their career up to Green in the album-tour-album-tour cycle. So after the tour in support of Green they decided they would not tour for some time. And after Automatic they had reached a point where they thought they could go not any further and had to do something else. And they wanted to tour again.

So they wrote some guitar-driven songs that were rather different from Out Of Time and Automatic; songs they could play live, a more rock sound. (Mike Mills even said Monster was a 'punk album'; if this was meant to be serious is doubtful).

Well. Monster did not get very good reviews on release; actually the first time in R.E.M.'s career they got some really negative reviews. But many fans seem to like, or even love, the album (as I said in the R.E.M. topic, I am not a big fan of Monster (nor do I dislike it); I like more the album as an enjoyable album to listen to, from start to finish  [if you are in the right mood for it]; I am not really a fan of any individual song on the album. More than the sum of its parts, then).

And I don't think most R.E.M. fans think they 'sold out' with Out Of Time and Automatic. But as I said in the R.E.M. topic, when 'your band' suddenly becomes very big; weird and mixed feelings.

Thanks for the insight!; yeah, trying to create something to tour again does make sense and contextualize it a fair amount, I suppose. Still ends up feeling as it does to me, though, unfortunately (though on Wiki it looked like it got decent reviews?) Ha, interesting, as I liked it less than the sum of its parts, but I get where you're coming from in saying that; to each their own.

 

Man, I wish some of my favorites would take off.

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It must not be easy when your complete discography stands in the shadow of that legendary debut album. But this one -from 2004- is a great and fantastic album too, by an unique band.

 

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What an incredible, gloomy, nightmarishly true album.

Fit is the masterpiece. I relate to it.

"You're fit for nothing at all.....nothing at all....nothing at all....

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On 9/25/2019 at 8:14 AM, SteveJhb said:

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An unknown masterpiece.

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Date: August 4, 1981
Location: Capitol Centre,
Landover, Maryland

 

 

This may be the greatest Bruce show ever.

.. which of course would mean this is the best concert in the history of mankind...

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4 hours ago, soulcrusader78 said:

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I haven't heard this in about 30 years. I use to love it. I'll have to see if it's on a service I have and take a listen.

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