My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Murmur is the debut album by Athens, GA band R.E.M. The album was recorded during the beginning of 1983 and released in April of that year.
What I think: What you see here is one of my top ten albums. Look closely, it is an interesting specimen. It is melodic in bass and vocal, it has a distinct jangle guitar sound, it sounds like it could be dark in content. One would never know though because it is nearly impossible to understand the muddy vocals. Let me rephrase that… those are absolutely perfect, spectacular and somehow still catchy muddy vocals. Don’t worry you’ll catch a phrase here or there, one from “Talk About the Passion” is “Not everyone can carry the weight of the world”. That line comes to mind whenever I’m overwhelmed, it reminds me that I can only handle so much at a time and it is time to let some things go. It really has been important to me in my life.
I’ve thought about looking up the lyrics on this album, I’m sure the songs would make more sense. I always end up changing my mind quickly. This lost meaning (what the hell is a “moral kiosk” anyway? I have no idea. That doesn’t keep it from being one of the best songs on the album) is part of the album’s mystique. Let’s look at another song titled “We Walk”, it is certainly a pop number the vocals and music agree on that much. Listen closely though there is something along the lines of “take the racist…” and the rest is lost. Hmm… maybe not as cheery as it sounds. That is the magic of this album. I’ve heard it so many times and I’m still trying to figure it out, but the stuff that comes easy is so pleasing to the ear that decoding those lyrics is a gift.
I should leave it there, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the songs “Perfect Circle” which is one of the most emotionally intense songs I’ve ever heard and the following track “Catapult” which has a chorus that has been scientifically proven to be impossible to resist. Don’t even attempt to avoid singing along. These are my two favorite songs on the album.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I agree with the writers. It’s a top ten album for me and something I will never tire of.
Rating (Out of 5) 5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (125/527)