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Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby SecondEdition on Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:14 pm

I chose the Smiths. Why? They're funny. R.E.M. aren't that funny. Plus, I like Johnny Marr more than Peter Buck. (even though Marr did end up joining that one band with the dude on the mic who sounds like a drunken emo hick all the time. who are they? they suck.)

I have the feeling I could have made the wrong decision, but I don't care that much.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby ergo space pig on Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:35 pm

SecondEdition wrote:(even though Marr did end up joining that one band with the dude on the mic who sounds like a drunken emo hick all the time. who are they? they suck.)


I think their name is Modest Mussorgsky.

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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby SecondEdition on Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:01 pm

Oh right, Modest Mouse. Yeah. They blow.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby ergo space pig on Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:27 am

SecondEdition wrote:Oh right, Modest Mouse. Yeah. They blow.


Pictures at an Exhibition was good.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby tommydski on Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:50 pm

run joe run wrote:Kerble your enthusiasm
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby Minotaur029 on Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:50 pm

World of Warcraft Porn!

EDIT: WoW is gone. :(
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby SecondEdition on Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:04 pm

That's some funny shit.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby Minotaur029 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:43 pm

Fellow wussy rock appreciators:

I tried listening to it pretty carefully on the road trip I just took...and I gotta say that Reckoning sucks. The songs aren't nearly as well constructed as they are on Murmur, and the enthusiasm that made the similarly simple songs on Chronic Town is missing. The sound isn't as dark or as fat as it is on Murmur or even Chronic Town. Don't get me wrong, it's got some great songs, but so does practically every R.E.M. album.

I'll just have to stick to my Chronic Town/Murmur CD.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby SecondEdition on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:16 pm

Minotaur029 wrote:Fellow wussy rock appreciators:

I tried listening to it pretty carefully on the road trip I just took...and I gotta say that Reckoning sucks. The songs aren't nearly as well constructed as they are on Murmur, and the enthusiasm that made the similarly simple songs on Chronic Town is missing. The sound isn't as dark or as fat as it is on Murmur or even Chronic Town. Don't get me wrong, it's got some great songs, but so does practically every R.E.M. album.

I'll just have to stick to my Chronic Town/Murmur CD.


I disagree. There are songs on Murmur that bore the snot out of me. Almost nothing on Reckoning does. That's why I always go for it if I want to listen to R.E.M.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby Minotaur029 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:21 pm

SecondEdition wrote:There are songs on Murmur that bore the snot out of me


The only weak link I can think of is "We Walk" and I don't even mind that one anymore since it's sandwiched between nothing but gold.

LONG EDIT: I think you may be bored by Murmur because it's really a lot different than anything else R.E.M. ever did. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if you were bored by a song like "Perfect Circle". It's definitely not that R.E.M.-ish in the wider context of their career, right? If you're into the R.E.M.™-type music, I could see how Murmur could feel like a real curveball, even within only the context of their '80s albums through Document. Only Fables of the Reconstruction bears even a faint resemblance to Murmur from my point of view.

I know you think that Stephen Thomas Erlewine is insane, but I think he really hit the nail on the head re: Murmur with this review:

All Music wrote:Leaving behind the garagey jangle pop of their first recordings, R.E.M. developed a strangely subdued variation of their trademark sound for their full-length debut album, Murmur. Heightening the enigmatic tendencies of Chronic Town by de-emphasizing the backbeat and accentuating the ambience of the ringing guitar, R.E.M. created a distinctive sound for the album — one that sounds eerily timeless. Even though it is firmly in the tradition of American folk-rock, post-punk, and garage rock, Murmur sounds as if it appeared out of nowhere, without any ties to the past, present, or future. Part of the distinctiveness lies in the atmospheric production, which exudes a detached sense of mystery, but it also comes from the remarkably accomplished songwriting. The songs on Murmur sound as if they've existed forever, yet they subvert folk and pop conventions by taking unpredictable twists and turns into melodic, evocative territory, whether it's the measured riffs of "Pilgrimage," the melancholic "Talk About the Passion," or the winding guitars and pianos of "Perfect Circle." R.E.M. may have made albums as good as Murmur in the years following its release, but they never again made anything that sounded quite like it.


Man, I just listened to "We Walk" again. That wimpy-ass song is great, too! Murmur is definitely in the top five all-time albums for me, at least at this point in my life. I suspect it will remain there until I'm dead and gone.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby SecondEdition on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:39 pm

Minotaur029 wrote:
SecondEdition wrote:There are songs on Murmur that bore the snot out of me


The only weak link I can think of is "We Walk" and I don't even mind that one anymore since it's sandwiched between nothing but gold.

LONG EDIT: I think you may be bored by Murmur because it's really a lot different from anything else R.E.M. ever did. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if you were bored by a song like "Perfect Circle". It's definitely not that R.E.M.-ish in the wider context of their career, right?


No, "Perfect Circle" was one of the songs I liked. Keep in mind that you're talking to a guy who left off listening to R.E.M. after being disappointed with most of Fables of the Reconstruction - which probably isn't very fair, but which is the truth. I barely know what "R.E.M.-ish" even means... I think that Murmur kind of bores me at points because it all seems to run together a little too well, especially at the end. It starts sounding the same as itself. I barely remember some of the songs, like "9-9" and "West of the Fields."

I know you think that Stephen Thomas Erlewine is insane


Well, no. I don't think he's insane, per se. I just think he's a stupid, pompous trendwhore with a depressing propensity for giving pieces of outright trash rave reviews.

but I think he really hit the nail on the head re: Murmur with this review:

All Music wrote:Leaving behind the garagey jangle pop of their first recordings, R.E.M. developed a strangely subdued variation of their trademark sound for their full-length debut album, Murmur. Heightening the enigmatic tendencies of Chronic Town by de-emphasizing the backbeat and accentuating the ambience of the ringing guitar, R.E.M. created a distinctive sound for the album — one that sounds eerily timeless. Even though it is firmly in the tradition of American folk-rock, post-punk, and garage rock, Murmur sounds as if it appeared out of nowhere, without any ties to the past, present, or future. Part of the distinctiveness lies in the atmospheric production, which exudes a detached sense of mystery, but it also comes from the remarkably accomplished songwriting. The songs on Murmur sound as if they've existed forever, yet they subvert folk and pop conventions by taking unpredictable twists and turns into melodic, evocative territory, whether it's the measured riffs of "Pilgrimage," the melancholic "Talk About the Passion," or the winding guitars and pianos of "Perfect Circle." R.E.M. may have made albums as good as Murmur in the years following its release, but they never again made anything that sounded quite like it.


Man, I just listened to "We Walk" again. That wimpy-ass song is great, too!


Well, since you spent the time to write this, I think I'll go give Murmur another listen - it's the least I can do. And that Erlewine review is probably one of his better ones too.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby Minotaur029 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:41 pm

"9-9" rules. "West of the Fields" is probably the most forgettable song on the record.

I'll forgive you if you can't get down with "We Walk". ABSOLVED

Long story short, there is so much going on in that Murmur record that it's easy to overlook all kinds of little flourishes.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby Minotaur029 on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:45 pm

SecondEdition wrote:I just think he's a stupid, pompous trendwhore with a depressing propensity for giving pieces of outright trash rave reviews.


He'll also gut records that kick ass. He's a weirdo, but I do like reading what he has to say about this and that.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby Get dog costumes on Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:19 am

Minotaur029 wrote:"9-9" rules.

For years, this was my favorite song. It's still in my top three. Definitely my favorite R.E.M. song. All four of them are so strong on this one.

There are a lot weirder and more creative bands than R.E.M., but man, what a weird song. It's verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus, but the verses are like two different songs, a normal pop song and a weird minor-key song, alternated every line. And the chorus doesn't have much to do with either of these songs, but somehow it all makes sense. So great.

Reckoning definitely sags in the middle. If you don't like Fables, you need to hear "Life and How to Live it" and "Can't Get There From Here" again.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby tmidgett on Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:26 am

R.E.M., I loved 'em when I was a kid and Chronic Town and Murmur were new.

R.E.M. music has not aged well for me, at all. It doesn't excite me any more, and I don't ever get jazzed by hearing it. Past Reckoning, I think their music is downright dull.

Smiths, I hated them the entire time they were a band. Could not stand the wheedly, dinky sound of the band, the jaunty rhythms, Morrissey's two-note range and constant trilling.

I was, inevitably, putting them up against Husker Du and Sonic Youth and Swans and Big Black and other stuff they could never compete with.

Even trying to match the music to something with a similar texture would have gotten them in with the Feelies or the Go-Betweens, and I think both those bands are much better than the Smiths.

But I have to say Smiths have aged remarkably well for me, and I see now the whole thing is very much of a piece--they committed to a particular sound, rhythmic sense, delivery, feel, lyrical bent. And I am impressed by the clarity and depth of their ideas and their dedication to them. I get it now and I do like some of it.

I think the Smiths had a lot more going on than I gave them credit for, and R.E.M. was kind of a smokescreen.

Smiths were much better musicians, the songs are better and more distinctive. Morrissey, forget it, he's twice as good as Michael Stipe as a frontman and his lyrics are way more interesting.

Me as a teenager would never believe it, but Smiths in a walk.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby Minotaur029 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:57 am

Get dog costumes wrote:Reckoning definitely sags in the middle. If you don't like Fables, you need to hear "Life and How to Live it" and "Can't Get There From Here" again.


Shit, a man after my own heart.

I've found myself thinking about R.E.M. a lot lately. I get the feeling that on their first two releases, they must have known they hit on something impossibly great by sheer accident. If I was making Chronic Town or Murmur, once I heard the playback of one of those songs, I think I would have blown my own mind. Peter Buck picked up guitar during college while working at the Wuxtry, no? These guys were like idiot savants or something...as evidenced by their later mediocrity.

So The Smiths knew what they were doing. How many albums this great (Chronic Town/Murmur) have ever been made seemingly by mistake? Where the hell did those records come from?...Mitch Easter?
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby DregsInTheCrowd on Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:39 am

Fuck, I love these two bands. I just love them. But let's look at these bands at their worst while in their prime (this is for the sake of leaving out embarrassments in R.E.M.'s catalogue like Reveal and Around The Sun, which aren't performed by the original lineup anyway)

R.E.M.: Obscure, pretentious bad poetry
Smiths: Self-loathing, snarky bad poetry

R.E.M.: Unremarkable songs with a crack band.
Smiths: Unremarkable songs with a crack guitarist.

R.E.M.: An occasionally intolerably incomprehensible singer.
Smiths: A singer who would be easier to tolerate if he were occasionally incomprehensible.

R.E.M: Murky and cryptic recordings until the fifth album.
Smiths: Thin and overblown recordings until the bitter end.

At their best, both bands produced excellent and distinctive music. But I think R.E.M. wins this one, but only by a nose.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby SecondEdition on Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:53 am

Minotaur029 wrote:"9-9" rules. "West of the Fields" is probably the most forgettable song on the record.

I'll forgive you if you can't get down with "We Walk". ABSOLVED

Long story short, there is so much going on in that Murmur record that it's easy to overlook all kinds of little flourishes.


Ok, so I went and listened back to Murmur and it turns out I had pretty much forgotten the album; it has a lot of top-shelf songs on it. But, indeed, there are also songs that I consider boring on it. They are: "Sitting Still," "We Walk" (you were right), and "West of the Fields." In contrast, not even "Camera" on Reckoning comes off as boring. And I take back "9-9" because I really like bass chords.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby tommydski on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:20 am

Side One of Reckoning is really, really good. I accept that overall it's not as good as Murmur but it's a decent record nonetheless.

I really like Life's Rich Pageant, to this day. I think that's a really fine album and I can never understand why people cite it as weak.
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Re: Jangledome: R.E.M. vs. The Smiths

Postby SecondEdition on Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:20 am

tommydski wrote:I really like Life's Rich Pageant, to this day. I think that's a really fine album and I can never understand why people cite it as weak.


I thought that was always cited as one of their best...
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