2021 Stereophile Magazine Record to Die For!Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time - Rated 165/500!
Murmur drew critical acclaim upon its release for its sound, defined by singer Michael Stipe's cryptic lyrics and guitarist Peter Buck's jangly guitar style. R.E.M.'s debut full-length release introduced the era of 'alternative' music!
"We wanted to have this kind of timeless record," guitarist Peter Buck said of R.E.M.'s debut, and this "technically limited" band (according to producer Don Dixon) did just that. Buck was a rock scholar who had worked in a record store; singer Michael Stipe unspooled his lyrics as if they constituted some new secret language. Murmur is full of ringing guitar and mystery. The lyrics and the melodies seem buried, almost subliminal, and even the hookiest songs, such as "Radio Free Europe," resist clarity. Murmur was a founding document of alternative rock, released just as Gen X was starting to go to college." - www.rollingstone.com
"'We hated it,' said Peter Buck of the sound on the first version of 'Europe,' on indie label Hib-Tone. 'It was mastered by a deaf man, apparently.' R.E.M. rerecorded it for Murmur, with a richer melody and tighter rhythm 'like Motown,' Buck recalled. Michael Stipe mumbled his lyrics a vague riff on U.S. cultural imperialism because he hadn't finished writing them when it was time to record." - Rolling Stone
Before their sold-out stadium concerts there was early R.E.M. - in fine form here. The Athens, Georgia, band's essential elements emerge: Peter Buck's jangly Rickenbacker guitar, Michael Stipe's cryptic lyrics and folk-pop meanderings. Melodies and harmonies are pretty and catchy - some choruses singalong - but they wander intriguingly off-course. Might the title reference Stipe's quasi-unintelligible vocals? No matter. Bill Berry's taut drumming adds punch and energy. Songs like 'Perfect Circle' sound sweet as Southern tea. Vulnerability permeates 'Shaking Through.' The songs are hooky yet quirky enough to transcend basic form and genre cliches. Distilled like moonshine, the quartet's playing has a raw, natural purity. An earnestness and a driving undercurrent hints at what's to come.Features:
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2. West Of The Fields
4. Talk About The Passion
5. Radio Free Europe
7. Sitting Still
8. Perfect Circle
9. We Walk
10. Shaking Through