On Wednesday night, for the first time ever, Stephen Colbert had a band on the show, and he started right at the top with my beloved REM. Above, watch them tear through the lead single off Accelerate, Supernatural Superserious, the one that "sounds like REM" complete with jangly guitars, Mike Mills' sweet backing vocals, and muscular drumming for the first time since Bill left, courtesy of Bill Rieflin from industrial metal band Ministry (superseriously). Sure, Pitchfork will smirk "REM can write a song (like this) in their collective sleep" (instantly catchy, viscerally empathic--"now there's nothing
dark and there's nothing weird/don't be afraid i will hold you near"--, unmistakably REM) but that doesn't make it any less great.
Also check out Stephen's interview, it's hilarious (Colbert asking Peter "How much mandolin is on this record?"). I'm so happy for REM everybody's liking Accelerate. As Colbert asked, "People are calling this your ‘comeback’ album. When you hear people say that, do you want to tell those people to go fuck themselves?" (yep, Stipe says, he does) Nice numbers on Amazon boys, by the way:
#1 in Music > Alternative Rockand on iTunes:
#1 in Music > Rock
#1 in Music > Pop
#! in Music
It's amazing to contrast the performance video above, which features a bunch of 50ish rock veterans whose place in music history is assured, with the performance below. This is their television debut on Letterman in 1983, playing Radio Free Europe off Murmur. Peter and Mike did a LOT more jerking and jumping around back then, they're absolutely frenetic, and MIchael was so shy and enigmatic. Watch, he can't even look Letterman in the eye at the end, and quickly puts his hands behind his back while Mills has to step up and be normal with Dave.
I saw them four times in 1983-4 before they were famous; they were so obviously great. The song itself is of course phenomenal and sounds fresh as a daisy. Interestingly, all the youngsters posting comments on youtube are amazed to see how punk REM was back in the day.
Also check out an acoustic version of Supernatural Superserious live on the BBC here, along with an acoustic cover of Editors' Munich. Good as well were the boys' live performances of Supernatural Superserious and the outstanding Hollow Man on the Today Show. And don't miss Vincent Moon's Takeaway Show featuring the band doing acoustic versions of five new songs (including the gorgeous On the Fly, left off the album) in random locations around Athens.
The new album is phenomenal. It's a concise distillation of all their sounds since 1981. Very enjoyable, thank you guys. Truly one of the greatest bands of all time. The week is better because of this album.
MP3 REM - Supernatural Superserious (from 2008's Accelerate )