By Walter Price
In 1983 you were probably torn between buying Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the Police’s Synchronicity a winner on both accounts, you shouldn’t have sweated it out so much… You also may have been mesmerized by your friend’s Swatch Watch, their growing laser disc collection or their ultimate Rubik’s Cube skills, geeky.. But if you were just a bit left of center you may have noticed that a band from the UK called The Smiths who released their first singles Hand In Glove and This Charming Man, thank you, and a little band from Georgia released their debut full-length album Murmur.
R.E.M.’s Murmur was unlike most anything else at the time, quirky if not cryptic lyrics from front man Michael Stipe and a band, Peter Buck, Bill Berry & Mike Mills, producing something between jangly pop and disfigured country. Soon, alternative music would be what you listened to be, well, alternative. The 80’s counterculture was now in full swing and it was smart, intriguing and enough noisy mystery to make your folks wince. You dug the hell out of this new sonic movement.
This is now and the boys in the now split R.E.M. are off enjoying semi-retirements and have been pooh-poohing any chance of a most wanted reunion. This doesn’t mean you have to wait for music releases brothers and sisters. No, not only have you forgotten to buy their last five studio releases but you have also, most likely, neglected to pony-up some bucks for their just released Unplugged: The Complete 1991 – 2001 Sessions.
“We all want to do something with this stuff,” he said. “We know we’ve got some really good things hanging around. We just want to put them out in a way that makes them as special as possible, because they’re special to us. I mean, if we’ve been sitting on stuff for this long, why go cheap with it now? Let’s try to make it be special rather than just dumping out the vaults.” – Mike Mills (Billboard)
If their extremely impressive Unplugged stops didn’t get your nostalgic and/or music exploration juices flowing, what about the two other coming offerings The Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987 and The Complete Rarities: Warner Bros: 1988-2011? Ha, I knew you were a diehard fan…
The Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987 will serve up 25 non-album tracks from their indie label days and The Complete Rarities: Warner Bros: 1988-2011 delivers 131 rarities from their losing our indie cred days of mega-stardom and shiny happy highly polished releases, mostly. Hey, I’m not saying anything I didn’t say. I tease because I love.
Put a smile on your eager face and go to iTunes, Amazon or the band’s website for all your purchasing needs and prove your indie cred and help maintain the legacy of one of alternative music’s much loved and true pioneering acts.