Friday, August 31, 2012

Rolling Stone's Top 100 Albums of the 80's - #8 – R.E.M. - Murmur

Continuing the series on the Top 100 Albums of the 80's.  Or at least the ones I have....
Continuing to work backwards, finally into the top 10:

# 8 - R.E.M. - Murmur

Released April 1983, Murmur was R.E.M.s first full lengh album, following the Chronic Town EP.  It would reach #36 on the US album charts, and spawn a minor hit, with Radio Free Europe (which peaked at #78).  But it was voted Rolling Stone's "Best Album of 1983".  In addition to being #8 of the "Best of the 80's" list, it is #197 of the list of 500 Best albums of all time.  As noted in the original Rolling Stone Review:  "R.E.M. fashioned its own smart, propulsive sound out of bright pop melodies, a murky, neopsychedelic atmosphere and a host of late-Sixties pop-rock touches". Or as Allmusic puts it:  "Murmur sounds as if it appeared out of nowhere, without any ties to the past, present, or future"

Personally, Murmur was one of the albums that simply blew me away.  It came out not quite a year after my college graduation, and not quite 6 months before my marriage. A time of "new and different".  And R.E.M. was certainly something new and different.  With a sound the hooked me.  I'm pretty sure I first heard about R.E.M. through my older brother (who has introduced me to a high percentage of the great music in my collection, but I know they quickly became staples of the community radio I listened to back then (WHFS).  And in the fall of 1983 (Oct. 7), I saw R.E.M. at the Ontario Theater in Washington DC, with Let's Active and The Fleshtones.  The was the day after their first appearance on national TV, which I didn't know until standing in line for the show.  And I was hooked harder.  But by the end of the 80's my passion faded, as R.E.M. became more commerical, more political, more successful. 

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