Uncut: The REM Collection: Disc 1 (Mike Mills)
Last Uncut REM CD post. It's been such a journey... I've laughed, I've cried... it's almost as though these songs have become a part of me. Or at least a part of my CD collection, close enough.
The REM Collection: Disc 1: Mike Mills Presents... Track Listing:
1. Green on Red - The Drifter
2. Big Star - Thirteen
3. The Blasters - American Music
4. The Jayhawks - Two Angels
5. mp3:Dream Syndicate - Medicine Show (live)
Nearly as long as a medicine show, and likely to provoke similarly mixed reactions. The liner notes in the magazine mention the Medicine Show album's 1984 release date -- it sounds very 70s -- and that although Dream Syndicate initially "mined Velvets and Stooges influences," the album Medicine Show "owed more to the spirit of Crazy Horse in its fusion of college rock and American roots music." The liner notes call this track "an incendiary live version" and nore that it's taken from The Complete Live At Raji's. It was recorded in 1988. The back of the CD doesn't indicate that it's a live track, which is a bit annoying.
The screechy guitars got to me after, oh, about 4 minutes... this is too feedback-laden and meandering for my tastes, mayhaps. The first time I listened to it, I found it pleasant enough, but likely because I was concentrating on something else and had tuned it out. The second time, I decided it's not my thing.
6. mp3:The Replacements - I Will Dare
One of the best 'Mats songs. I love it. Yet... should it be disturbing? Westerberg was born on the last day of 1959, which puts him at 23 when Let It Be was released. Wow, cigarettes can age a voice.
How young are you?
How old am I?
Let's count the rings around my eyes
How young is she anyway? 18 or 19, right? Okay, then. Great song.
7. The Embarrassment - Death Travels West
8. Soul Asylum - Closer to the Stars
9. mp3:Pylon - Crazy
In the liner notes, Peter Buck says he heard this song on the radio the day REM's EP Chronic Town was released and he was "depressed by how much better it was than our record." R.E.M. then covered it on Dead Letter Office. Here's the REM version: mp3:REM - Crazy I like both a lot. It doesn't have to be about who's "better."
10. The Long Ryders - And She Rides
11. mp3:Miracle Legion - You're My Blessing
The presence of a Miracle Legion song was one of the main reasons I was drawn to this CD's track listing. I have a bit of a soft spot for them. This is a really sweet song, mushy, even. It's not perfect, but I quite like it. The liner notes refer to the "complex, baroque suite that is "You're My Blessing." Hmm. I admitted it isn't perfect. Apparently, it's out-and-out baroque. Should it be fixed? (Sorry). Singer Mark Mulcahy has been a solo artist since the late 90s and is currently opening for the Pixies.
12. mp3:Love Tractor - Til Morning Comes
I had never heard of Love Tractor. The liner notes reveal that they were an early 80s Athens, Georgia band. Like Pylon and REM... except I like their tracks on this CD. I know they're going for humour rather than sex appeal -- I hope so anyway. The effect is still awfully anti-alluring. The lead singer is the only remaining Love Tractorite for a 2005 album that according to the liner notes boasts a "heavier sound."
13. Jason & the Scorchers - Absolutely Sweet Marie
14. mp3:REM - Boy In The Well (live)
Good song! Nice way to end this REM Uncut disc madness.
I said I'd talk about the singer's disc, and whether it's really "better". It's an easy call that I like Michael Stipe's disc the least. My favourite songs on his compilation are by Karen Elson, Papercranes, and Vic Chesnutt. I like some Now It's Overhead and Magnapop songs, but not the live tracks he chose by them. The audio on the Leona Naess and Angela McCluskey songs seems a bit off. I don't like Tilly & the Wall and the track by his sister's band, Flash To Bang Time assaulted my ears and my WinAmp.
I like both Peter Buck's CD and Mike Mills' CD. Peter Buck's CD is more likeable overall, nicer to listen to all the way through. One highlight is a John Doe song I love and had never heard. I also really like the Turn-Ons song and I think that's new-to-me as well.
Mike Mills' compilation has more songs I don't like, but he also picked some bands I'm a sucker for and some classic tracks I love ("Thirteen," "I Will Dare"). Not sure why his CD has 14 songs, 1 less than his bandmates managed. Maybe there was a last-minute clearance problem with one of his songs. Mills' CD is less consistent than Buck's, though it's cool that he chose some fairly obscure songs.
On the other hand, I also said Buck's CD is more likeable. Eh, both are good. It doesn't have to be about who's "better." I don't think it's Stipe though. I'm not entirely over the WinAmp thing yet.