Chart-a-thon 2023Releases

Chart-a-Thon 2023: Day 2, Slot 1 – “Murmur” and More by R.E.M!

Hey everyone!

Yaniv here and I’m mega-excited to kick off this Chart-a-thon, which me and many other authors have been working on for a while to create a truly memorable event filled with great music!

And we’ll start it off by a new entry of our beloved Album Series – number 18 so far – and this time it’s R.E.M’s debut masterpiece “Murmur”!

How do you even describe “Murmur”? Before R.E.M. were worldwide superstars and chart-toppers, they were a pretty revolutionary indie band. It’s hard to overstate how magical, important or groundbreaking “Murmur” is. NME magazine said about it: “‘Murmur’ is the sound of a band that began life as one of the best in the world. It just took the world a decade to catch up”. MOJO said: “Had they never made another record, Murmur alone would guarantee R.E.M. ‘s legend”. 

Murmur” was almost a clean slate from the new-wave and post-punk that was dominating the alternative scene. Murmur took some elements out of those, and has created a whole new style of playing – creative, beautiful. They’ve made an art form of arpeggiated guitars (while actively avoiding guitar solos, which differentiated them from classic rockers), has infused melodic bass playing, creative drumming, and sweeping Byrds-style harmonies that would often include several melodies intertwined. This album is the pioneer of what’s called “jangle pop”, and has influenced all the 80’s indie heavyweights – from The Smiths, Pixies, Sonic Youth, the Replacements – all rabid R.E.M. fans – right into the 90’s heavy-hitters such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Radiohead.

Murmur’s leading single, “Radio Free Europe”, is of course official DLC. But here are 7 further songs from the album for your enjoyment: the classic “Pilgrimage”, the gorgeous jangle of “Talk About the Passion”, the beautiful piano ballad “Perfect Circle”, the epic guitar riffs of “Catapult”, the upbeat energy of “Sitting Still”, the all-over-the-place groovy weirdness of “9-9”, and the classic arpeggios of “We Walk”. Let’s go!

Phew! So that was some great “Murmur” cuts. And now it’s time for an age-old Album Series tradition – bonus tracks! And for those, as the song goes, I’ve got by with a little help from my friends – thanks to the great Ungrateful Dead and jphn for your great contributions to this project!

Of course, “Murmur” was directly followed by yet another stone cold classic, “Reckoning”. Which one is better is honestly a coin-toss, and they are both masterpieces. Ungrateful Dead has previously charted the high-tempo “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”, and here he was kind enough to contribute his work on two other classics: the opening classic “Harborcoat” and the brilliant “Pretty Persuasion”. jphn has also stepped in to author the beautiful ballad “Camera”, while I’ve finished “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)”.

Custom by Ungrateful Dead
Vocals and Harmonies by Yaniv297
Custom by Ungrateful Dead
Vocals and Harmonies by Yaniv297
Custom by jphn
Guitar by Yaniv297

“Harborcoat” video preview – thanks TheOreo for the preview!

While this release is focused on the magic that is early R.E.M., we couldn’t resist authoring a few other later classics. Starting with “Fall on Me”, the lead single off 1986’s “Lifes Rich Pageant”, a classic R.E.M. tune that’s pretty much a duet between singer Michael Stipe and guitarist Mike Mills.

Thanks TheOreo for video previews!

And for the rest of the bonuses, I’ll pass the torch to my authoring partner jphn:

Coming up next are oft-considered the two stand-outs from 1996’s “New Adventures of Hi-Fi” – “E-Bow The Letter” and “Electrolite,” authored by jphn! Strangely chosen as the lead single for the album, “E-Bow The Letter” is characterized by its drony stream-of-consciousness style and powerful backing vocals from the legendary Patti Smith, resulting in a song that still stands out amongst the rest of their discography. “Electrolite,” on the other hand, is a lovely piano ballad that acts as a bittersweet farewell to the 20th Century, and is also the last song to feature founding member and drummer Bill Berry.

Custom by jphn
Custom by jphn

Finally, we have… Pavement? “Unseen Power of the Picket Fence” is a pseudo-love letter to R.E.M., briefly going over their history as a band and comparing them to…American Civil War General William Sherman, in classic Malkmus fashion. It even name-checks all the Reckoning songs we have here today, making it a perfect bonus song for this pack!

Custom by jphn
Guitar by Yaniv

So that’s it! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this first pack, many many songs to come! Next up, FujiSkunk with a cool set of songs!

This was an Album Series release. Previous entries in the series:

1. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
2. Silver Jews – Tanglewood Numbers
3. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
4. Summer Salt – Happy Camper
5. My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
6. Beach Bunny – Honeymoon & Blame Game
7. Jimi Hendrix – Band Of Gypsys
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love
9. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
10. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest
11. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
12. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
13. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
14. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Barafundle
15. Suede – Autofiction
16. Silver Jews – American Water
17. Blur – Modern Life is Rubbish

The album series is an ongoing collaborative project. If you would like to get involved be sure to reach out to me for more information on how to participate.

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  1. Thank you so much for these and all the work that went into them! Especially the Reckoning tracks, which is possibly my favorite REM album (Murmur is great too of course), and for Harborcoat, which I am thrilled to finally play in Rock Band!

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