September 9, 2007
Appropriately enough, my strongest memory of Murmur is tied to a vague, murky recollection of a cold, lonely night circa January 1994. My parents and siblings were off someplace for the evening, and I remember listening to the album — which I’d only owned for a couple weeks at that point — in the living room with all the lights out. The only bits of illumination came from outside the window — the lamp post from across the street, and the dim glow from the snowbanks. I listened to the entire record, but only “Catapult” is tied in with this memory. Maybe it’s because it was my initial favorite? Or perhaps it’s got something to do with the words — the nostalgia for childhood, the specific reference to the time of day, the feeling that something fun or beautiful is happening someplace else, but you’re not there. There’s something so cheerful in Peter Buck’s jaunty chord progressions and Michael Stipe’s exclamations on the chorus, but also sort of distant and obscure. It’s as though the song is a big party, but there’s a secret password needed to get inside.