A paper weight, junk garage

I've been a big fan of Pop Songs since the day I realized that fluxblog* writer Matthew Perpetua had another place on the internet--a place where he planned to write about every single R.E.M. song.

It's a great site, too. I know that I posted some big ol' R.E.M. nostalgia not too long ago, and I also know that one of these days I'll write my big essay detailing how Up and Monster are not the Death of Good R.E.M. like so many critics/fans think. I also know that it takes a special kind of fan to tackle this kind of project, so my hat goes off to Perpetua.

Anyway, shortly after he finished the project--running out of "every song on every R.E.M. record that existed as of March 2007"--Michael Stipe contacted him and essentially said, "hey, I'll answer some questions, whatcha got?" which must sort of be like getting a call from Bill Clinton or a letter from Bill Gates.

Some of the stuff is pretty amazing, too. Check it:

2. There is a song on Green called “untitled” what was your thoughts on a possible title at the time? Was there a working title for the eleventh untitled song from Green? I heard it was So awake, Volunteer. Any others?

at the time it was really cool to have unlisted, ‘hidden’ tracks for the fans, and that was ours. Its untitled because we just pretended like it didn’t exist. I really wrote it to my Mom and Dad, from the road. We basically toured the entire 1980’s and I didn’t see my family much.

What's amazing to me is that all throughout, we're left thinking about what it must be like to be Michael Effing Stipe, but with this anvil of humanness smacking us on the head--"I didn't see my family much." So little that he wrote a song to them like some of us might write postcards. Under it all, these dudes are people, after all.

The answers to the questions are collected as Ask Michael Stipe. Much like the blog itself, these entries have me rediscovering individual R.E.M. songs all over again. Awesome.

*btw, fluxblog looks a lot different nowadays, eh?

(an)Other Place's Words, 6 September 2008

For the next week-or-so I will be posting as an official blogger for PICA's TBA blog.

My first post is up here.


Other People's Words, 31 August 2008

Boy oh boy, here's some 90's tunes for ya. Hell yeah, Spacehog. Now if only I could get him to email me those old Tuesday songs as mp3's.

Not really a story, but seriously: Authentic Pirate Hip Hop.

Louis Armstrong: Original Mix Tape Case Designer. Awesome. [via]

Five Rejected Titles for the New Coldplay Record

And then we have Ben Folds leaking a fake album, though far more interesting than just that.

The Greatest Band That Ever Lived (for tonight at least)

You guys, I am seriously in one of those music-devouring phases again (yes know, hard to believe, but they really are phases, it's not a constant thing) and the devouring has come from two sources, one of them fairly unlikely.

The real source was a recent Sound Opinions episode, during which they covered their Best of 2008 (so far). This kind of thing always charges me up, and I love listening to Kot and Dero because I typically get turned on to a few things that I want to check out (and also vehemently disagree with them on a few things).

Well, this time around, Dero decided to defend the Red Album.

Yes, that Red Album.

Weezer seemed to have gone from brilliant to totally gone to exciting to bleh, earning themselves one of my favorite music reviews of all time in the process. I had given up on them doing anything worth hearing based on second-hand snobbery from that review (and I will now come clean: I do actually like that "Beverly Hills Song)(though seriously, "We Are All On Drugs?" I am pretty sure that Cuomo singing one of his Harvard papers would have been more interesting), and so it was weird to hear Derogatis gushing about Weezer. Prog-rock and Rush-leanings aside, Dero rarely gushes about stuff that isn't worth at least checking out.

He started to talk about a song called "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)" and I thought, "oh here we go, pretension disguised as fun, please," but then he played it and I was like, "who the hell is this?" It starts off sounding like a Modest Mouse song and then goes through about four different versions of the song, including an intro that has about 9 different power chords palm muted in a seemingly random way and a Beach Boys style a capella section and...well, as Dero pointed out, this was a band that used to make complicated songs out of disparate parts, and here they were doing it again.

It's fucking great.

Another song that he mentioned is called "Heartsongs," and although that one has one verse too many (the last verse is a bit TOO much), it's an ode to music that they love that will probably inspire another post 'round these parts. Oh, and did I mention that it sticks in your brain? Seriously, I would have to start another twitter feed called "Weezer earworms" for this one.

Is the whole album great? It seems like maybe not, though actually, I don't know. It seems like there are some standouts, definitely, but the thing is, those songs are so great that I haven't really delved into the rest of the album much.

I'm really happy to know that I don't need to write them off any more though. I always sort of forget about Weezer, but you better believe that nearly every time I spot the Blue Album on a jukebox, I play "In the Garage" or "Surf Wax America."

Enjoy my first nomination for song of the summer.


"The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)," Weezer