Gardening At Night
May 30, 2007
Michael Stipe’s voice on the Chronic Town version of “Gardening At Night” coats the song like a patch of damp, soft moss. The words are there, but he seems more intent on conveying the images of his lyrics through texture and ambiance rather than clean enunciation. The alternate version found on Eponymous trades the soft-focus femininity of the EP mix for a louder, punkier take that comes closer to how Michael sang the song live, but isn’t much of an aesthetic improvement. The change does little to damage the essential appeal of the song — simply put, the melodies are gorgeous — but the more aggressive vocal shakes off a bit of the mystery and the romance.