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Saturday, 5 February 2011

When You Tire Of One Side The Other Suits You Best

As far as I'm concerned R.E.M. couldn't put a foot wrong throughout the five albums they released on I.R.S. in the 1980s, and they more or less kept that strike rate up until Bill Berry left in 1997. Their first three albums- Murmur, Reckoning and Fables Of The Reconstruction- are chock full of mystery, drama, murk, guitars, tunes and wonder, even if you haven't got a clue what Michael Stipe is on about. In fact his vagueness and slurred, mumbled vocals add massively. This is Life And How To Live It, one of the highlights of Fables. This version was recorded live at a gig in Utrecht, Belgium in 1987. The guitars fizz and chime, the rhythm section's tight, and the whole band sparkle. As a bonus Stipe gives an introduction to the song for a minute or so, where he explains what it's about- a man who divided his apartment into two and lived in each half depending on how he was feeling. When he leaves they find a cupboard full of self-published books, all entitled 'Life and how to live it'.

06 Life and How to Live It [#][-][Live].wma


stevoid said...

'Fables of the reconstruction' definitely seems to be the runt of the litter amongst R.E.M's IRS years but I think it has an enduring stodgy charm about it that none of their other albums have.

swiss adam said...

I really like it- like you say 'stodgy charm'. Or murk.