Tag Archives: R.E.M.

“Green Grow the Rushes”

Fables of the Reconstruction, 1985

I suppose song-for-song, Fables represents the slowest of early R.E.M. Certainly the darkest, the most mysterious. Perhaps even the most Southern, by which I mean it feels the most foreign to an American born elsewhere. It might also be the most inconsistent, but the highs are formidable (“Driver 8,” “Maps and Legends,” “Feeling Gravitys Pull”). Early R.E.M. holds a special place for me; the first five records make me nostalgic for a time and place I’m too young to remember, and there’s a sweetness to “Green Grow the Rushes” that feels eternal. It’s not hard to hear this music and imagine the world it came from, or to wish you knew it too.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/07%20Green%20Grow%20The%20Rushes.mp3]


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“Farther Up the Road”

Vigilantes of Love
To the Roof of the Sky, 1998

I’ll always love this band, this album and this song for the words. Veterans of the same Athens, GA scene that birthed R.E.M., Bill Mallonnee and his Vigilantes of Love were a staple of my Christian music diet in the mid-90s, when I’d come home with an armful of new CD’s and my parents would do their best to appear disinterested in the catch. Though VoL albums were sold in Christian bookstores, the dirty secret was that they didn’t have much in common with their peers. Mallonnee was far too literate to survive alongside the younger, goofier, more popular bands being hawked at the time. He was a real artist after all, not prone to easy answers or pat statements of faith. You can imagine how well this went over with the Evangelical gatekeepers of the day. “Farther Up the Road” sounded pretty damn remarkable to a sheltered 17-year-old kid. The ambiguity, the weary resignation, the poetry — these were not attributes typically associated with the faith of my childhood. This was something tougher, altogether more humane, and ultimately more lasting than the dreck that surrounded it. This was the real thing.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/15%20Farther%20Up%20the%20Road.m4a]


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