It was a sad 10-15 years after the release of R.E.M.’s epic Automatic for the People that I finally realized that Led Zeppelin bassist and multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones contributed orchestral arrangements on Drive, the award-winning Everybody Hurts, The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight, and Nightswimming… which represent a good 1/4 of the album. If you’ve got it, and haven’t spun it in a while, have another listen and keep an ear out for Jones’ work. There’s a bit more comfort within these arrangements now that the full picture is in view, at least, from the perspective of these ears. Plus, it’s an excuse to relive your 1992 years. You’re welcome.
This three-track 12″ single from the glorious year, 1987, features R.E.M.’s first hit single with The One I Love (its A-side). A live version of the title track and Maps and Legends fill out the second side of this I.R.S. Records release. Fun fact about the video for this single. The Director of Photography was Food Network’s Alton Brown, well before you know, there was even a Food Network. Any way you serve it up, for your eyes or your ears, The One I Love is vintage 1987.
It’s not entirely difficult to consider this Seattle-based foursome adequate participants of the late 70s, early 80s sewer-like wave of repressed energy, known today as punk, or as my Mother likes to call it, “the Devil’s music.” Missing, or rather, subdued is the raw, misguided anger found in Los Angeles and San Francisco based punk acts of the time. In its place resides the mature, but no less angry, rhythmically brilliant 1/3 new wave, 1/3 minimalist indie-rock, and 1/3 punk-influenced musicianship that somehow gets lost amongst the 33-year-old haze that was 1980.
Blackouts (here losing the The… on a side note and completing having nothing to do with this post, do you remember The The?) consisted of future RevCo, Ministry, R.E.M. (you read that right), Pigface, KMFDM (to name only a few) drummer Bill Rieflin, Roland Barker (brother of Revco, Ministry, Lead into Gold, Lard, PTP, Acid Horse, U.S.S.A. bassist Paul Barker… who would join this band immediately following the release of this EP), as well as Erich Werner and Mike Davidson, of whom I know virtually nothing about. Phew! That’s a lot of band-name dropping there, but you can begin to see the overall scope of this band’s, and subsequently, this EP’s brilliance. Or, maybe you can’t and you’d much prefer the screeching yelps of Katy Perry, or God forbid, Madonna! Either way, this 4-track EP comes highly recommended and should prove for an interesting listen if nothing else.
1993 was an interesting year. I was 14, and back then, New Jack Swing was alive and violently flowing from the radio waves like a raging river of hip hop and dance-pop fusion, but you know, with tight-rolled Z Cavaricci’s and LA Gear footwear.
Shifting away from spoon-fed radio, for me, was a slow burn. We only had two radio stations that played anything other than Western or Country, and the closest record store was something like 40 miles away. A bit too far for me and my trusty BMX, as it turned out.
If I Had No Loot was a recent purchase, a $1 thrift store find actually, and serves as one of those “throwback” records that I’ll frequent when the thoughts of my younger years slowly begin to seep through the thin layer of 2013 reality. Other bands that fit this category include Animotion, Tone-Lōc, Paula Abdul, R.E.M., Prince, Jane’s Addiction, Faith No More and Pet Shop Boys (I was a confused kid).
For all its amazing shortcomings, If I Had No Loot still manages to stand its ground, and is as catchy and enjoyable as when I heard it for the first time screaming from Z-104 (104 FM) out of Madison, WI. People say music is timeless. I say, music is a time casket, emerging from yesteryear like a Pepe jean, Hypercolor shirt wearing zombie.
Today’s post was inspired by a fascinating chap with whom I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday, while standing in line for Record Store Day. Not unlike said gentleman in line, Stand, by R.E.M., sticks to the inner lining of your skull like Velcro. It’s easily removable (simply pull the Velcro apart… how can you not know how Velcro works?), but seldom ever forgotten. (Once you master the intricate workings of Velcro, you kind of don’t forget the process. I’m sure I’m sorry that Velcro is such a foreign concept to you.)
R.E.M. was huge in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Not so much Elvis Presley or say, a cat on the moon huge, but EVERYBODY knew R.E.M., and EVERYBODY knew this song. Stand isn’t so much of an order as it is a self-reflective suggestion. Stand in the place where you live. Ok, I’m doing that. Now what? Now face north. All right, and… done. Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before. Direction, huh? Well let’s see… is forward a direction? I can’t seem to find it on my compass, here. I think I may need a new compass. Perhaps I’d better sit back down.
R.E.M.’s tenure spanned (“ed” because they no longer exist) from 1980 to 2011. During that time they’ve gone through oodles of changes, the biggest being the loss of Michael Stipe’s hair. R.E.M. saw an abundance of time on the radio and bounced back and forth between the Top 10 hits walls. Stand would be their second to break through the coveted barrier of paint and drywall, and as a result, would permanently set up shop as “one of those songs that everybody has heard.”
I really, really dig R.E.M., but they’re mood music. I can’t just, say, throw on an R.E.M. album and go about my day. I need to be in that subtle, R.E.M. mood. You know the mood, somewhere between hopelessness and melancholia? You know that, but you don’t know Velcro… I give up. Listen to this song. It’ll help you take stock in your decisions in life.
As an aside, Wikipedia claims that Stand was released in January of 1989, and therefore would NOT be eligible for a post on 1988. The back sleeve indicates, twice, the year to be 1988. So, either there are some disgruntled people over at Wikipedia, or my R.E.M. Stand sleeve is a conniving liar. Why don’t YOU stand, Stand? My legs are getting tired and this line is long. Anybody out there know where I can find some VHS tapes?