Wednesday, November 26, 2008

R.E.M. "Out of Time"

Yes, readers, in a fit of madness I have allowed an REM album into Panda Mansions. In my defence I can say that this came from a charity shop. I like it pretty well, apart from the track with KRS-1; aside from the rockist opposition to pop music on which the lyrics trade, KRS-1 raps like your dad.

My own opposition to REM is well-known. I think that maybe like a lot of people and the bands they hate, it is not really based on the music as such. I like a lot of REM songs (thought I also greatly dislike several). Two things really made me hate on REM. Firstly, there was the way the music press were so fond of them back in the day, at a time when there was a lot of other and perhaps better music out there for them to be excited about. In retrospect, the music press was just getting excited about one of "their" bands breaking through to the big time, kind of like I would if some weirdo band I liked managed to become contenders but without completely changing musical direction. The other thing I have always found a bit problematic about REM is the whole "we mean it, maaaan" schtick they have going. This is exemplified by 'Everybody Hurts', a truly dreadful song. But it is not on Out of Time, a record that, apart from the one with KRS-1, has loads of tuneful semi-acoustic songs.

Whether you like REM or not, their ascent was interesting to observe. They managed to bring out three albums in a row, each of which brought them to a new, wider audience that people would previously have thought unattainable to a band of their type. Out of Time is the middle one of these. I'm not sure if this is significant.

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