Thursday, August 13, 2015


I love "9-9."

The frantic, frenetic energy of the Wireian meets Gang of Four arrangement.

Peter Buck's angular, metallic (not in the sense of heavy metal, but the sense of sounding truly like metal) guitar.

Mike Mills' (and, at times, Bill Berry, as well) unusual (for R.E.M.) shouted backing vocals, doubling Michael Stipe's lead vocal, rather than providing counterpoint, as was more common for them.

Bill Berry's screwed up drum pattern, with the downbeats and upbeats reversed, a trick first used by Ginger Baker on "Sunshine of Your Love" and later utilized occasionally by Stewart Copeland, throwing the entire feel off, making it difficult for the listener to find the center of gravity, rendering the entire song askew and the listening experience uneasy.

The fact that by design the only fully audible words are "conversation fear," making it among the more autobiographical of early Stipe lyrics.

If it's the weakest track on Murmur—it's not, but if it is (it's not)—well, it's only because something has to be and not even track can be a "Standing Still" or "Perfect Circle" or "Radio Free Europe" or "West of the Fields" and most good bands would love to have a single song this weird and great.

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