Bang and Blame

July 26, 2007

In 1994, “Bang and Blame” was an obvious single mainly because it conformed to the post-Pixies soft-loud-soft dynamic that dominated rock radio. Well, it does and it doesn’t — the chorus is certainly bold and punchy, but most of the song is actually spent in murky verses that amplify the muggy feeling of the corresponding parts of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to a nearly stifling extreme. Whereas Nirvana’s song is an aggressive tantrum, “Bang and Blame” has a strange limpness that makes it angriest moments err closer to peevishness than rage.

That’s not a complaint, mind you. The song is effective precisely because Michael Stipe sounds so worn down, frustrated, and impotent. He’s trying to be diplomatic with someone who has wronged him, and he’s aware that he’s just setting himself to be a doormat all over again. He’s doing his best to be stern and take control, but there’s a passivity at the core of the character and the song that cannot be shaken. At the end, when he succumbs to his antagonist, it’s not at all an accident that his submission is eroticized.

108 Responses to “Bang and Blame”

  1. Evan Says:

    I like the description of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as “muggy,” though I’m guessing that has something to do with the video. (And maybe the deodorant reference.)

    I’ve always thought “Bang and Blame” sounded chilly, actually.

  2. Paul Alferink Says:

    Definitely would never have picked this song to be a single. It’s an average song on the disc, in my opinion.

    As a bit of trivia, my iPod has 6 Monster songs on it.

    I Don’t Sleep, I Dream
    Star 69
    You
    What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?
    I took your Name
    Let Me In

    It’s Funny, when Monster came out, rock critics couldn’t praise it fast enough. I remember watching some rock critic show on VH-1. (Four on the Floor, I think) Three of the critics name Monster on their top five albums of the year. One lady even says, “I normally don’t care much for REM, but this album rocked so harder I couldn’t deny it.”

    The forth guy, who appearantly was too stupid to answer the question, informs us he’s been working on a Kurt Cobain book that year, and puts on 5 Cobain related albums (Unplugged, Sleeps with Angels by Niel Young, and three things others I don’t remember.) So his vote doesn’t count.

    It was the only album to make two people’s lists, let alone three.

    Ever since then, the critics started disliking it more. One person said (circa 1998) that it was like when that 40 year old guy is in the college dance club trying to get with all the co-eds and failing miserably

    I think it rocks. It took me one listen to get use to it. But the album as a whole, is a nice change of pace. It’s sexy. It’s obcessive. Even when it’s melacholy, like in Tongue and Bang and Blame, it’s sexy.(As Mike Mills, I think, said, whereas other REM albums had come from the Heart, Monster definitly came from the crotch. The albums lone, sad note, Let Me in, is just the perfect mix of Anger and Sadness, the two emotion playing at the same time seemingly indepedant of one another. It’s not my favorite REM album, but it’s defintely strong, start to finish.

    Best Line from Bang and Blame:
    You kiss on me, tug on me, rub on me, jump on me,
    You bang on me, beat on me, hit on me, let go on me,
    You let go on me.

  3. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    I love the erotic/abusive overlapping imagery in this song. It works very well in the lyrics and musically it seems to express that same feeling as well. It also is another creepy love/lust song from a long list of such songs that make up Monster. As fas as it being an obvious single choice, for me it is and it isn’t. Yes, it does sort of fit the hard/soft grunge style of its day. It also has enough of a variation in tempo and tone that it stood out immediately from much of the rest of the CD (which is something that music execs look for in a good single). On Monster I think that that point was exceptionally important as I remember, even being a HUGE fan of REM thinking that much of the CD sounded the same after a first couple of listens (see note below), it took me some real time and effort to hear the songs underneath all of the layered guitar sludge. However, it isn’t an obvious single choice for me as well because it is very mid-tempo, not an obvious ballad or rocker. Also, REM’s biggest recent hits had been more pastoral fare (Everybody Hurts, man On The Moon, Losing My Religion) so that said, Bang and Blame is a bit less obvious. I never thought it was a good 2nd choice for a single though. To me “Crush With Eyeliner” has more attitude and spunk, but a similar vibe (it rocks more convincingly too) or “Strange Currencies” because it is the obvious ballad choice. I realize that these ended up being singles 3 and 4, but still . . .

    As to my first listen of Monster, it was introduced to me in a weird way. The local alternative radio station the day before its midnight release played one new song an hour on the hour. So at noon was “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” which I had already heard as lead single, one o’clock was “Crush With Eyeliner”, two o’clock “King Of Comedy”, etc. I remember as I waited for each song (pre hearing everything ahead of time on the internet days) thinking that they all sounded so similar, so buried in noise with the vocal usually buried in the mix. Its sort of funny to me now though as to me most of the songs are completely unique beasts now that i’ve had more time to digest, but I remember going to buy Monster that night after one listen to each song thinking “What the hell have they done?” and “Wow! Kurt Cobain’s ghost is all over this record”.

  4. maclure Says:

    I love Monster, but probably think this song and Tongue are the weakest tracks and both were singles. I think MP’s write-ups have been the best for Monster – I get the impression you really dig this record, Matthew?

    I always go on about Peter’s guitar work but I really love his choice of sounds on Monster. I remember reading that he had been messing about with Eddie Vedder’s effects pedals thinking: “we have got to make a record that uses some of these…”. Anyway, muggy is right for the feel of the verse. I luv the way the guitar throbs. Actually, it could have been very boring – only two chords Am to G. But (and this blew me away as I learned guitar) Peter simply plays the Am on the 5th fret without a bar which gives it that uneasy resonance with the open E and B strings… Mike’s walking bass does the rest. And sorry to go on about this again: but the bridge is just wasting time strumming chords. Especially for a single we should have something more there from somebody.

  5. maclure Says:

    ps. good story BWD. Listening to a record like that must be very odd.


  6. Gaaah I should turn off comments for “Tongue” because I will have NO NEGATIVE WORDS FOR “TONGUE.”

  7. Paul Alferink Says:

    >Gaaah I should turn off comments for “Tongue” because I will have NO NEGATIVE WORDS FOR “TONGUE.”

    Matthew, you are indeed a gentleman and a scholar. May your first-born child be a male child.

    Tongue rocks the party that rocks the body.


  8. “Bang And Blame” never made a massive impression on me, but how could it when its single ALSO provided my first listens of “COUNTRY FEEDBACK” and “BEGIN THE BEGIN”?!

    Decent song, though. And killer video. The Monster era, with all its MTV/etc. exposure, was the beginning of my career as an R.E.M. fan (at eleven or twelve) and what a great time it was (well, for me, at least).

  9. 2d Says:

    [Gaaah I should turn off comments for “Tongue” because I will have NO NEGATIVE WORDS FOR “TONGUE.”]

    agreed. that song is pure bliss, from beginning to end.

    i truly am glad that you love monster (and that many people seem to do as well). slowly but surely, as it got more familiar, it’s crept its way up my album list as my current favourite r.e.m. record and i think the fact that many casual fans / critics seem to think that it sucks / is a disappointment made me love it even more. it’s like the ugly duckling that is really a swan on the inside, but that few people can see. it’s definitely been a slow burner, but i think i can relate to it because, once i allowed it to permeate through my defenses, i realised i really needed a savage, dark, distorted, loud, menacing album to tame my demons. monster doesn’t make me rage, it calms me down!

    as for bang and blame, it’s a pretty well crafted song, that pulsating guitar feels like an electric heart beat, slowly bottling up energy, only to unleash its full rage and power during the chorus, wave upon wave of distortion and raw emotion. pretty intense. i think the use of those bells during the bridge is a very efficient way of adding a sense of urgency but also of frailty to the andrenaline rush.

    and gotta love that psychedelic, creepy snippet at the end. wish they included that kind of interludes on their future albums – this one provides a nice afterthought to the song. i feel like, despite all the explosive anger and reproach of the track, in the end the howls die down and things remain unchanged between the two characters. the bang and blame goes on, silent once again. i’ve always picked up some sort of “the monster is still inside me, lurking, waiting in the shadows” kind of vibe from this particular snippet.

    good stuff.

  10. Kevin Says:

    I love “Bang and Blame,” but then again, I love Monster. Not a bad track on the album, and the grimy-crunchy-sexy obsessiveness of most of the tracks was right in my wheelhouse when it came out (Along with the justly-celebrated “Tongue,” “I Don’t Sleep, I Dream” is another highlight in this regard.) The parties may have played the hell out of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack at the time, but Monster, more than any other album, reminds me of college days. (Ok, Portishead’s Dummy might be up there too — seemed like it was always playing in someone’s dorm room at the time.)

    Anyway, I remember hearing in some interview or another that Stipe was deliberately trying to invoke Cobain’s style with the lyrics on this track. So the Nirvana comparison is a sound one.

    You’ve got a little worry, I know it all too well. I’ve got your number, but so does every kiss and tell who dares to cross your threshold…

  11. Ignis Sol Says:

    Automatic for the Peephole

    To me, “Bang and Blame” we get a glimpse at simmering rage and disgust mixed with two-faced empathy and sly manipulation laced with guilt. Sonically, it all explodes and then calms down panting with sexual grief. Then a teaser at the end, like a feather against your skin. Maybe that we me in 1994. Yeah, it was me.

    Great song from a great album. Like 2d says this album is a kind of slow burner. Slow burning is something R.E.M. is known for, right? Many R.E.M. songs/albums go unappreciated for years until people catch on to somehting that they should have caught on ages ago.

  12. transformerdog Says:

    “Let go on me ” , would that be the same as ,”Baby , you can cream on me.” ? Happy 64th Micky ! …………..or does he mean it more as in , Come on ,just take it out on me. All your negative stuff. Hit me with it.(then I imagine this impossibly impetuous in all matters of the heart/animal and frail lover-girl crying and wailing on the chest and arms of a much larger guy and ultimately feeling better)

    kinda odd how it always seems like the chorus initially comes in too quick, the song starts and then there it is -the chorus–right in your face..LUV IT . this album certainly defines a time and place for me —literally and figuratively–a very good time . Irretrievable.

  13. transformerdog Says:

    interesting point 2d: ” …needed a loud,menacing album to tame my demons..”
    Does aggressive hard intense RNR–much harder than what we are talking about here–cause antisocial aggressive behavior or does it provide a healthy outlet?

    Ditto that same question with pornography.

  14. Figgy Says:

    Yeah, “Monster” was a slow burner for me too but I really like it now. But many of the albums I list as my all-time favourites (by REM as well as others) have been slow burners too. Taking time to appreciate something is good. Songs with immediate appeal often lose that appeal quickly. That’s not to say “Monster” is one of my all-time favourites but it’s grown on me over the years.

    I think I was initially disappointed by “Monster” because of statements REM made about it before it’s release. They promised this album would really rock, unlike the previous two. I think I had my heart set on something akin to “LRP”, “Document” or “Green”. “Monster” didn’t satisfy that expection and initially I felt it was the worst album they’d ever recorded. Nowadays I appreciate it as a good rock album but that it just rocks in a different way from the older stuff. I do tend to return to it more than any other REM album of the 90s.

    As for “Bang and Blame”, I’ve always felt it lacked something. At the time of the grunge loud/quiet formula, I thought this song didn’t get quite loud or exciting enough in places. Also, I always felt the lyrics of the chorus were a bit lacking with too much repetition of “bang bang bang” and “blame blame blame”.

    However, Matthew, I think your well-written review of this song has made me appreciate it a lot more. You’re right about the singer sounding “worn down, frustrated, and impotent”. The overall sound of the song suits the theme of succumbing to someone and being walked over like a doormat.

  15. transformerdog Says:

    “Beavis, they said doormat..heeheeheehee..You don’t think??..”

  16. Figgy Says:

    Just to respond to transformerdog re: “Let go on me”, I’ve always taken that to mean giving up on a person.

    In this song, I see the singer’s character being loyal to the abusive protagonist, taking all the crap that’s thrown their way. And the reward for putting up with this? Some appreciation? No! The abuser justs walks out of their life instead of giving any positive back.

    But your interpretation of the line, transformerdog, will come to mind the next time I listen to the song. It’s certainly one way to look at it, and does fit quite well.

  17. 2d Says:

    [Does aggressive hard intense RNR–much harder than what we are talking about here–cause antisocial aggressive behavior or does it provide a healthy outlet?]

    depends on the person, i guess. but all the people i’ve met who like heavy metal and generally hard rock are really really nice when the music is turned off. i am thinking of two people in particular: they’re a couple of long haired, head-banging, metal lovers (they said at a party that they were hoping for “losing my religion” – i smiled – then they said they meant the graveworm cover!) – and they wouldn’t hurt a fly, they’re both really polite and even mildly shy, truly two of the most well-mannered people i know. i believe that, if you really have the brains and a healthy way of thinking, this kind of music becomes an outlet and not a way to enrage you. i’m not too fond of it really, but i can totally see the way it can channel anger and frustration – if dealt with properly. i suppose i’m a very mild person so the r.e.m. version is enough for me😛 (even though there’s nothing mild about “circus envy”)

    on a side note, at the same party where they told me about “losing my religion”, i sneaked “bang and blame” in the playlist to see the crowd’s reaction. like i expected, confusion mixed with “go with the flow but what the hell is this?” and then i heard a girl tell another: “i know what this is, it’s r.e.m.! they rock!” and suddenly my spirits got much higher.

  18. 2d Says:

    katharsis is “purification by art”. that can be either in a “light” or “dark” way, but the effect is the same in the end – release. think comedy vs. tragedy. laugh or cry, you lose yourself in the moment and forget about the world for a while. the “stand” dance or a “circus envy” howl, in the end you’re left with a sweaty t-shirt and a satisfyied look on your tired face.

    hmmm. and did you also mention porn?😀

  19. 2d Says:

    damn typos. sorry.

  20. Heyberto Says:

    My favorite song on Monster. The guitar parts are just mesmerizing to me and immensely atmospheric and evocative of such a mood of despair and desolation. As with any memory, it’s hard to really understand and remember how life felt back then, but the music of this song takes me back to that time like few others do. I prefer to not think of the meaning of the lyrics, but just to enjoy the play of Michael’s voice against Peter Buck’s guitar and how intertwined they are, yet distinctly different.

  21. transformerdog Says:

    “Beavis , he said porn….heeheeheehee…”

    Hard Rock is great for working out to !! For blowing off steam–it’s not an overstatement to say that it can be a real lifesaver, xtra good when you got a fantastic set of headphones and you know you’re not bothering anyone.

    “Beavis , he said blowing..heeheeheehee…”

  22. Ignis Sol Says:

    2d: Imagine my shock when I heard “7 Chines Brothers” played at gay leather bar in Seattle years back. This crowd is pretty rough, drinking beer out of jars and stuff. No messing ’round.

    One of my many adventures, other then hearing some woman sing a dance/club version of “Losing My Religion” back in the 90’s at again, a gay club, in Saugatuck Michigan.

    I think I am outing myself. I will blame, blame, blame it on R.E.M.

  23. 2d Says:

    wow, “7 chinese bros.” at a gay leather bar. now there’s a plot twist i bet nobody expected! it’s almost as strange as that chucky doll coming to life and starting a killing spree.🙂 so what was the crowd reaction? did they leave their beer jars and leather swings to shake it on the dance floor to “this mellow, sweet, short-haired boy”?… hmm. wait. i get it now. *astonished look*

    as a side note, i’ve always linked “7 chinese bros.” with a romanian song called “tits-in-tea chinese girl”, it’s a song about prostitutes written in a totally hilarious way. it’s written in a light and funny way and it surprisingly has the same rhythm and “feel” like “7 chinese bros.”

    & i bet i know what transformerdog is going to say: “beavis, he said tits… hehehhehehe”😛 god that show is stupid! fun, but so stupid – i think hundreds of my neurons were jumping ship while i was watching one of those. i much prefer “daria”.

  24. Clive Says:

    I’ve always really liked ‘Bang And Blame’, feeling it’s one of the more accessible tracks on Monster. However, it is fairly basic and there isn’t much depth to it – it just sounds nice (in that way very similar to ‘What If We Give It Away’). As Matthew said, it plays on the whole loud-quiet idea (which was very fashionable around that time).

    From a guitarist point of view I really like the way they played this song on Saturday Night Live in 1994. Maybe the tremo effect was too much to reproduce live so Peter sort of knocks up a quick guitar improvisation at the start of the song and at the end of the song and I have spent hours trying to play that part exactly like he does because I love it so much!

    Finally – WHY DO THEY NOT PLAY THIS SONG LIVE MORE OFTEN!!?! I’ve only heard it played live once on Saturday Night Live. I’m aware it cropped up a few times on the Monster Tour but as far as I know it hasn’t been played live since. Do the band not like it?

    P.S. Don’t you think an acoustic version of this song would sound really cool?😉

  25. huub Says:

    I think Bang & Blame is one of the weaker songs on Monster. It hasn’t got the tension or the eerieness (in literature-teachings they would call it The Uncanny) which is so great about Let me in, Tongue or Strange Currencies. BUt still a nice one..

  26. maclure Says:

    Have come back in from somewhere to see my throw-away views on Tongue have caused consternation… I have had a re-listen and a re-think and while it may not be the best on Monster I do concede it is a damn fine song. Matthew, please forgive me.

  27. Jerad Says:

    I remember reading that this song, for all intents and purposes, broke up the band for a good half hour. I think it was an interview with Mike where he said that things got so rough when recording this that for that period of time R.E.M. really was done.

    I really like this song – it’s just a big dumb rock song with some cool tremolo. I agree with Clive, too, that the live version is quite cool in a very different way. The tremolo was probably difficult to get just right on stage.

    Shit video, though. At the time when R.E.M. were most present on MTV, they put out one of their worst videos. The quick zoom-in-and-out effects completely ruin it.

  28. David T. Says:

    2d–Interesting that you mention Bang and Blame and Losing My Religion in the same story…when I first bought Monster, I was struck at how much the verse melody of Bang reminded me of that of LMR.

  29. Paul Alferink Says:

    I’m just surprised that Sagatuck, MI has a gay bar. Why did my dear old grandmother never take me there on our frequent visits?

  30. Ignis Sol Says:

    Paul A., funny (I HOPE)- did she ever take you to “that” beach? 🙂

  31. transformerdog Says:

    Ignis , refer to last commment on Beat A Drum, please , and answer my question , please…..I’m very serious and , confused.

  32. Paul Alferink Says:

    Again, I didn’t even know there would be a place referred to as “that” beach. Most of our trips to Sagatuck involved going in and out of craft stores and someplace for dinner or lunch. She was a very country kitch type lady. Not my cup of tea, but she was a sweet old lady and kept me in matchbox cars and baseball cards throughout my youth, so I figure it was the least I could do for her. She also was slightly nervous that a black person mowed her lawn and refused to vote for Bill Clinton because he had had an affair with Gennifer Flowers, so I’m guessing anything having anything to do with a gay life style she was either unaware of or thought she would go straight to hell if she didn’t advocate crushing the offender with a large stone.

  33. Ignis Sol Says:

    transformerdog; I am very much male who is mostly gay.

    Ignis Sol is a name I use when I read my poetry around town. I lose myself in that persona.

    I created Ignis, because it is Latin for “fire” or to spark (ignite). The ignite creativity, political thought, “illuminating visions.” Sol is Spanish for sun, a favorite symbol of mine (as are the moon and stars). I chose Latin/Spanish because I am of Latino heritage. I also have a Latin/Spanish water themed variation on this model, but that’s a sssssssssseeeeecret!

    I am sorry for the gender confusion (very Stipean, eh?).
    Do you still like me?🙂

    Paul A: Saugatuck is Mecca for gays in the Midwest (and visitors from beyond). It mostly happens in the summer at the clubs and on the beaches on Lake Michigan. It has a long tradition as being a party resort town for gays. I have had lots of fun there! I guess I never met your grandmother.

  34. transformerdog Says:

    UNBELIEVABLE !!! and all this time I thought you were a female🙂. I wonder how far off my ideas and impressions of how people participating in this blog LOOK PHYSICALLY are ??!!! an amazing thing , the internet…So I guess Kirsten is the only female REGULAR from what I can gather (throw a fit)

  35. 32M Says:

    And here I thought Saugatuck was a mecca for little old ladies found of crafts and excited that her and her 16 year old grandson are going to feed the ducks!

    Odd. A Prof. once said that that county lead the nation in unwed teen pregnancy in the 50’s and 60’s. Little did he know that my father was from there from around that time. I razzed my dad about it when I got home on break, asking him if I had any older sibling who got adopted that I didn’t know about.
    You’d think the number of gay people would lower that number somewhat, but I suppose this is 3 decades later.

  36. 32M Says:

    Kristen’s not a girl. She a 14 YO boy. All females on the internet are 14 year old boys.

  37. Paul Alferink Says:

    Sorry, I switch computers and I didn’t realize I was posting under the wrong name. 32M is me.

  38. transformerdog Says:

    yeah. Ignis, I still like you, just don’t desire you🙂

  39. Ignis Sol Says:

    transformerdog- that’s just fine, . . . and I feel fine.

    Work is boring today. I can’t wait “until the day is done” to release these demons. I like the new R.E.M. stuff outta Dublin. “Living Well…” sounds like a great song. I wish R.E.M. would record in Seattle again. It would be cool to run into them at a local pub or the market or even the book store (like Peter).

    I listened to “New Test Leper” on my walk in to work today….that was recorded in Seattle. I heard them play back in ’03 in the shadow of the Space Needle. Hopefully, they will tour again.

  40. 2d Says:

    lol maybe we should have a “post your picture blog” or something😉 that way we can avoid all confusion😀

    @ignis: you remind me a lot of a guy i once knew, some 2 or so years ago. he was a great guy.

  41. Ignis Sol Says:

    2d: If I can remind people of the great guys in their lives, then they should know they, too, are also great people.

    serious, this day is draggin’ I have one minute of lunch left…

  42. transformerdog Says:

    best line from this song is “your secret life of indiscreet discretion”

    Peter Buck, is that like the ultimate pornstar name or what?

  43. 2d Says:

    seriously people, let’s post pics. this isn’t a dating site, but we whould know who we are talking too!🙂

    i’ll go first. hi, this is me! http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/46657047/

  44. 2d Says:

    @transformerdog: i love the complete line “the whole world hinges on your swings, your secret life of indiscreet discretions” – surreal bliss.

  45. Ignis Sol Says:

    What about “Buck Peter” for a name of porn film?

    Yeah, that is a great line… a friend of mine back then made a point of singing that one in particular (he and his partner would having problems). We all have our secret lives.

  46. Ignis Sol Says:

    If you any have myspace, you can see the real me there by searching Ignis Sol .

    I can’t open some sites here at this big corporate hq I work at…. I would like to see who is who, too.

  47. Bruno Says:

    rem?

  48. transformerdog Says:

    Ignis , I’m glad you feel fine ..I’m crushed (with eyeliner)..shakin’ thru..:)

  49. transformerdog Says:

    Bruno , she wishes LOL, oh, i’m sorry , he

  50. transformerdog Says:

    2d, I can relate to bi-polar swings (and wings)

  51. Ignis Sol Says:

    “Shaking Through” is great. I like that “geisha” line…”denial…” then the chorus.

    Speaking of the Pixies (Matthew’s review), I also listened to “Wave of Mutilation” on my walk in. What a great song.

  52. 2d Says:

    i have no idea what’s up with those last 3 posts, but anyway😛 *backs off slowly*

  53. 2d Says:

    @ignis – you’re not on myspace! but “wave of mutilation” is indeed a great song.

    @transformerdog – have you ever heard of the rare and elusive bi-polar bears?😀

  54. Ignis Sol Says:

    hmmm, 2d, is myspace search case sensitive? Then maybe try iGNiS SoL ? I removed my pic from the main pic and put one up of my excusion on Sunday.

    I signed up to myspace in 2004 when R.E.M. debuted Around the Sun. See how this all comes back around, huh? Anyone else remember that?

  55. 2d Says:

    oh no! what happened to the page? i’m sorry matthew – if you want, you can delete that wretched post :-S

  56. Ignis Sol Says:

    I am sorry Matthew and 2d

    Please try linking through blog.myspace.com/ignis_sol

    I feel like a troublemaker😉 .

    Has anyone noticed that R.E.M. and U2 have had similiar career trajectories? And why is R.E.M. using Jacknife Lee who worked U2? He has done some great work with other bands. But if you are going to use U2 producers why not use Lanois (Acadie is a great album), Eno and Flood?

    Just thinkin’ when I should be workin’

  57. David T. Says:

    > I signed up to myspace in 2004 when R.E.M. debuted Around the Sun. See how this all comes back around, huh? Anyone else remember that?

    Ha! Me, too! That was my first exposure to MySpace, actually. I also remember having to listen to the MySpace stream very softly (since my only Internet access was at work)…listening at such a low volume completely skewed my impression of that record for a long time…

  58. transformerdog Says:

    I said it before and I’ll say it again
    Younz guys are all on drugs..

    2d , where is that photo taken at?

  59. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    REM and U2 have had similar career trajectories and rivaled each other at one time for the titles “biggest band on the planet” and “most important band on the planet” although in a commerical and critical sense REM has lost out on both accounts now. One key difference though: U2’s return to its more traditional style resulted in a commerical career revival while REM’s has not. That said, even being more an REM fan, Reveal is no All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

  60. transformerdog Says:

    Paul, have you been watching To Catch A Predator on MSNBC ? that show kills me

  61. transformerdog Says:

    great story in Bob Dylan’s Chronicles about how Bono comes over for dinner with a case of Guiness in tow at a low ebb of Dylan’s career , Bono convinces BD to show him some “poems” he has in a drawer that he feels might have some potential (but he feels kinda insecure and unsure about)… ,and at Bono’s urging BD gets motivated ,the stuff becomes eventually the ‘Oh Mercy lp..(an incredible song on there called ‘The Man In The Long Black Coat’), album recorded in New Orleans and one can feel the magic of that city in the haunted grooves…..BD mentions how they agreed that one of the more humorous sides of being famous–I mean BIG-TIME famous like the two of them– is that no one believes that it’s really you !!! …funny , imagine some of the scenarios and the frustration .. And imagine some of the very important and interesting stuff they talked about ! OFF THE SCALE CURIOUS !!

  62. Mr Cup Says:

    Is this officially the ‘out post’?

  63. transformerdog Says:

    approachng High Speed Train in it’s ungainliness

  64. Mr Cup Says:

    the so-so songs seem to create these sort od monsters don’t they?

  65. Paul Alferink Says:

    Trans- Nah, I only watch truly highbrow stuff, like Flava of Love. . .

    Oh and my picture. . .

  66. transformerdog Says:

    you’re pic is not coming thru, Paul (for me)

    funny how I found myself giving this girl I know from Seattle who I have a crush on “qualities” of Ignis ( when I thought Ignis was a she), would consolidate the two in an unintentional almost subconscious way, would have to remind myself that this girl who I “see” is not the same girl from Seattle who I’m reading–such are the dangers of computers and technology, the way they can impersonalize human interaction, trivialize correspondence to the point that no one really knows the person they are talking to, mixing more than one person together into this non-existent ideal,(nor do they even know WHO they are talking to , visualizing at a given moment !!)

    thinking today that if I really had to pick one REM #1 favorite song , it would be …..Orange Crush . sealed the deal for me. knew I was on to something really special. jacked my curiosity and devotion into the stratospere and the rest is history .

  67. transformerdog Says:

    should mention that Green was my first exposure to the band so that perhaps my thought process there would be somewhat explained

  68. 2d Says:

    @transformerdog: it’s taken in a hotel room at the seaside. and i’m not on drugs!!! *rolls down sleeve over left arm*😀

    and the internet tends to do that: it’s a virtual world, so, naturally, it encourages to dream and fill in the gaps for the things we don’t know about the people we’re talking to. this can be something very sweet and romantic (as it usually enhances the other person with attributes from the “ideal man/woman”), but it’s ultimately just a dream that can evaporate in as fast as an instant. a virtual “relationship” is very shallow and extremely deep at the same time. i’ve had my share of let downs too🙂

    @paul: i can’t see the pic either

    @ignis: i can now bestow you with a face in my mind’s eye! – but still my destructive post hasn’t been deleted *gulps*😀

  69. Scott Says:

    I’m late to the party here, but I just want to testify. Consensus seems behind reading the line as “I move across the room with a heart full of glue, I’m stronger than you think.” I’ve always heard “heart full of glue,” with the “I’m” closing the rhyme. I prefer the image of a heart held together with fresh layers of wet glue after every break. I know mine is all duct tape and dime-store epoxy now. Can I get a witness?

  70. Scott Says:

    Oops… I was talking about “Bittersweet Me,” not “Bang and Blame.” I thought I loved both songs, but my confusion signals a shrugging acceptance that even R.E.M.’s better midtempo numbers have begun to run together, at least for me. I guess I need a head full of glue.

  71. 2d Says:

    *raises hand* i shall bear witness in your favour, mr. scott! i can’t say i’ve had my heart crushed too often, as i tend not to let people too close to it to do damage, but it’s happened once for it to get snapped in two pieces. not exactly a cup of honeyed tea. i moved on though, and i really am “stronger than you think” – though there is plenty of time for more heartbreak, sadly.

  72. Ignis Sol Says:

    okay, i am back from my neighborhood’s block party, i met some friends who are part of the drive out the bush regime campaign. my friend and i held the bush blow up doll/punchin’ bag while hipsters, homos and hobos punched the friggin’ hell outta of it.
    i am covering it for my freelance writing gig, seattle indy media. should be a good story…

    i will change my main pic now that people are lookin’ at me. i am not a grassy tunnel with sunshiny hilights, really

  73. Ignis Sol Says:

    transformerdog, i am now internalizing….slowly, your comments. i am mixing this with the comments that 2d made about how
    >it’s a virtual world, so, naturally, it encourages to dream and fill in the gaps for the things we don’t know about the people we’re talking to< (nice)
    also, the notion of being crushed and broken-hearted. i am all over the place tonight (after bumping into a new cute friend stumbling home from the parties…so cute and not for me).
    maybe the internet is a place we can safely delve into our emotions fully knowing there is no risk of being crushed, broken-hearted. it is disguised with entertainment and enlightenment. maybe i am rambling on and should go to bed…… alone…. or maybe i can knock on my neighbor’s door and shake up this “vast, unruly” world of mine. i know one thing; late nite tv sucks and that giada from food network is very hot.

    with R.E.M. we are allowed to explore whatever we want from any perspective because of the nature of the music they write…. One song can be mean so much to so many different people…

  74. Ignis Sol Says:

    one more thing,Scott, I met a guy tonight with an outfit made of duct tape. I will post it on my myspace page sooon…

  75. 2d Says:

    [fully knowing there is no risk of being crushed, broken-hearted]

    depends. the higher you soar, the harder you fall. and if the internet can loosen your heart and make you live in a fantasy, when the dream shatters you are left with a very bitter taste in your mouth – if you let your imagination take over, that is. i learned the hard way.

  76. Ignis Sol Says:

    Imagination, come alive.

    I thing I have always been one to raise my caution flags too soon. Exploration can be dangerous, but I guess the adventure is worth it. I ventured with one soul and gained so much more than I thought I wanted. In the end I got what I needed…. makin’ sense?

  77. 2d Says:

    yes. but only in the context of something real. at least you can see the other person’s eyes, gestures and expressions, feel the breath, see the nervousness or confidence or both, hear the laughter and watch the shadows playing on his/her face from time to time… there is no replacing these things. not through the most active of imaginations.

    anyway, i have to go to the seaside now – 4 days of sunbathing and swimming. have a great week-end people – and hoping to get back to at least 3 of matthew’s reviews😀

  78. Ignis Sol Says:

    angel, don’t take those sleeping pills
    you don’t need them

    night, friends!!!

  79. jim jos Says:

    well, I’m back from my week trip. So much to tell but, this seems like a closed conversation.

    Transformer dog: I was up in the Athens area, went through the town and was in the northern mountains of it Georgia and I had Highway 61 on, and the line about “heres your throat, thanks for the loan” came on and I said, “damn you transformer dog”

    I read some comments about the older songs, that I missed live discussion on, and I saw one comment, forget who by, but it was in Sad Professor (great song, one of my favorites on UP, which is one of my favorite cds) about “late afternoon the house gets hot” and that is SOOOOOOO very Athens. Driving past those nice, but sort of run down places on Oconee reminded me of that, and I was actually playing Monster at the time. But I thought of the sad professor line, no air in those babies. Heat though. and then someone posted that here. Sweet.

    So speaking of Bang and Blame, I have a funny story. when that song came out and we heard it for the first time, my friend said “all of their songs sound the exact same” and I was a big R.E.M. fan then, not as big as now, but for the life of me, I still can’t think of an REM song that sounds similar.

    Bang and Blame is a definite highlight of Monster for me.

  80. transformerdog Says:

    jimjos , you need to get a laptop so you can keep in touch on the road.
    How anyone can say that all REM songs sound alike is beyond me, probably the same losers who don’t appreciate Dylan..

  81. transformerdog Says:

    Oddfellows Local 151
    there I said it , don’t think that song has been mentioned /referred to even once !!
    a freakin national treasure

  82. transformerdog Says:

    jimjos, you live in that area ?
    any Stipe sightings?

  83. transformerdog Says:

    9/9
    I talk to the wind
    My words are all carried away
    I talk to the wind
    The wind cannot hear……

  84. ambrose chapel Says:

    musically, this song sounds like it would have fit nicely on Hi-Fi – to me it sounds like an all-night drive through the desert.

  85. jim jos Says:

    Transformer,
    No, don’t live in the Athens area, sadly. Just get the chance to go up there every now and again. I live in a little part of the world I like to call HELL a.k.a. Florida.
    Athens may have given the world R.E.M., B-52’s, Pylon, Widespread Panic, Of Montreal, etc.

    But we have given the world Creed and Limp Bizkit.

    Please, don’t everyone applaud at once.

  86. transformerdog Says:

    Creed , ‘What If’ is killer. (Im always kinda amused by the name Scott Stapp cuz’ my name is Scott….so it’s almost kinda like a combo of me and Stipe, well , not really, although in all honestly I do see myself that way in a sense . I’m very sensitive but also very masculine but NOT NEARLY AS TALENTED !!! what a load of baloney , huh? Matthew , something new to get us thru, please……The one thing that always sticks out in my mind when I think of Florida is how the rest stops on the interstate have those spray guns for spraying off the splattered bugs from one’s windshield (!!) , so thick they are in the summer , amazing……Was that Baudelaire or Rimbaud –“the starry archipelagoes and the unbelievable Floridas”–that line from a poem ?? I forget.

  87. jim jos Says:

    Time and love has branded me with its claws
    Had to go to Florida, dodgin’ them Georgia laws
    Poor boy in the hotel called the Palace of Gloom
    Calls down to room service, says, “Send up a room”

  88. jim jos Says:

    I love Baudelaire, especially his symphonies.

    A little Ringo styled humor a la Hard Days Night kind of twist there, for ya.

    if you have to explain it, it sucks.
    I know. I know. I know.

  89. transformerdog Says:

    hey paul
    nice photo
    did you cross your DNA with something reptile?

  90. maclure Says:

    Ahhh, just in from a killer 21 hour door to door journey from France to Brazil. Many delayed flights. If anybody considers flying anywhere with the Brazilian airline BRA – I strongly recommend against it. Lots of time spent in airports= I can confirm REM knew what they were talking about in “AirportMan” and “Zither”…

  91. maclure Says:

    Just reading through the entries… nice pic Ignis Sol… I too have linked to this site as one I am addicted to from my blog. Anybody on facebook?

  92. Theresa Says:

    Does anyone else think that this is turning into another “High Speed Train” type thread? Not that I’ve contributed anything so far, just thought I’d say that.

  93. Ignis Sol Says:

    maclure, thank you for the compliment. maclure, you are living New Adventures in Hi-Fi, I am living Reckoning.

    Theresa, this thread is great. I don’t think Matthew imagined this would happen.

  94. transformerdog Says:

    sorta Theresa but not for the same reason, I mean it hasn’ t been that long really since Matthew’s last posting (blame it on Ignis:))..and maclure I guess Pat Travers knew what he was talking about when he wrote Crash And Burn …….and me? I am living Diary Of A Madman

  95. Kirsten Says:

    Hi, I’d just like to say that I am infact female, but I’ve often been mistaken for a 14 year old boy, so I take no offence. And, for the record, I am even more gorgeous than you imagine!🙂 (Ahh, the beauty of the internet!)Interesting point, though. I wonder if there is a particular reason why they seem to attract more male fans?

    Bang And Blame:
    I thought the line “you let go on me” was a sexual reference, all though not quite as specifically as transformerdog. One thing’s for sure, it’s sung with a lot of dispair.
    Love the bass line, too. Another brilliant one. Surprised so many of you aren’t that fond of it and see it as the worst from Monster.

  96. Ignis Sol Says:

    You can bang, bang, bang and blame, blame, blame it on me, transformerdog. Let go on me, tug on me….😛

    Kirsten, that line is indeed sexual. I feel what he is singing because his voice is so reaching.

  97. Mr Cup Says:

    it’s interesting you know, I always thought ‘you let go on me’ to be a suggestion of verbal abuse. Where the subject of the song is so angry they unleash a tirade of angst and expletives. Not holding back. Anything.

  98. Kirsten Says:

    Well, I thought of it more as sexual abuse. Whilst the physical sex maybe fully consential, emotionally, it is abusive.

  99. Paul Alferink Says:

    I agree with the 14 year old boy.😉

  100. Dark Bob Says:

    Definetly not one of my favorites. Very average. Was surprised when they released this as a single.

  101. Clare Says:

    Can’t help feeling this has become a bit of a private party, but hey will rear my ugly (& female!) head from time to time. Matthew (anyone remember matthew?!) this & I Don’t Sleep I Dream are my favourites off Monster. I adore the monotony of the background verse music against Michael’s yearning voice & what are essentially desperate lyrics. When I hear this song, alongsdie Driver 8, Leave, So Fast So Numb it screams southern Americana to me, driving miles & miles & seeing noone or anything. Fab stuff. The eerie video fits perfectly with the empty emotion of song.

  102. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Hi Clare ! A female a wang a dang a dang I say OW !!!!!!


  103. […] not the best of anything! Several excellent, highly worthy hits from the 1988-2003 period — “Bang and Blame,” “Pop Song 89,” “Turn You Inside-Out,” “Get Up,” […]

  104. ScottMalobisky Says:

    what does your shirt say, Melonie ?

  105. Melonie Says:

    If you’re talking about the one in the pic in the link, it just says Star Wars and has a Darth Vader picture on it.

    If you perused the other pictures, the khaki shirt has the Minnesota RollerGirls logo. The black shirt is the good one. I bought it at the convention and it says, “You don’t need to look at my chest. These aren’t the breasts you’re looking for. Move along.”


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