Time After Time (Annelise)

September 30, 2007

Before I ever owned a copy of Reckoning, I was obsessed with a song called “The Unseen Power of the Picket Fence” from the No Alternative compilation. It was the very first song that I ever heard by Pavement, who would eventually become my all-time favorite band, and it just happened to be a tribute to R.E.M. in general and Reckoning in specific. On a very basic level, it’s a song about the magic of discovering music without knowing all that much about it, and the way enthusiastic, imaginative fans can rush to fill in their own history and meaning to art when they are not weighed down by the baggage of a shared culture.

In 1984, R.E.M. was a mystery for Stephen Malkmus to solve, just as his band would become a puzzle for me in 1994, and I’m certain that both bands benefited enormously from withholding information the public, and forcing the listener to develop their own context based on what they could glean from the records and whatever made it into the mainstream press. As usual, imagination allows for greater drama and insight: “Unseen Power” starts off with Malkmus identifying with the band’s southern roots despite having spent his own formative years in California, and ends with him imagining R.E.M. as stoic defenders of Georgia who confront General William Tecumseh Sherman at the end of his devastating March to the Sea. It’s all rather colorful and strange, but in an intuitive way, it summarizes the band’s appeal in the early ’80s than most anything else I’ve ever encountered.

In the second verse, Malkmus provides a quick recap of R.E.M.’s discography as of 1984, with a decided focus on Reckoning and its tracklisting. Though I knew “So. Central Rain” and “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” at the time because I had a dubbed copy of Eponymous, some of the titles were warped by my adolescent ears, i.e., for some reason Reckoning came across as “Black Honey.” Through the verse, Malkmus seems awed by the songs, and so when I finally heard “Camera,” “Harborcoat” and “Pretty Persuasion” for myself, I was acutely aware of their legendary status, at least in the mind of the guy from Pavement. However, he made one thing very clear in that verse: “Time After Time” was his least favorite song. “TIME AFTER TIME” WAS HIS LEAST FAVORITE SONG!!!

“Time After Time” is not my least favorite song on Reckoning. Not even close, actually. Bill Berry and Peter Buck shine on the album version, with the former filling out the space between the latter’s loose, trebly notes with a variety of light percussive textures. The song gradually builds up to a rather majestic peak, but even still, the tone remains decidely mellow and understated. This is in part due to Michael Stipe’s cool, reserved vocal performance, and an airy arrangement that seems to evaporate into the atmosphere just when it rises into the sky. In a way, it’s the song on Reckoning that comes closest to what Malkmus achieved on his records with Pavement — it presents an extraordinary and specific sensation in a disconcertingly casual sort of way. In other words: “Time After Time” is slanted and enchanted.

100 Responses to “Time After Time (Annelise)”

  1. OhLife Says:

    Time After Time is my MOST favourite REM Song. I love the atmosphere conjured up by the circular movement of the music. Its trance inducing and comforting. The Chiming of the guitars swelling and receding reminds me of water lapping up and down waves tide coming slowly but enevitably inshore. I have teenage memories of listening to this song at twilight in my backyard with friends on July 4th. We had light pens and sparklers and would “draw” circles and our names with them in the air to the chiming guitars. The First time I heard Pavement was also on the NO ALTERNATIVE comp and they remain my LEAST favourite band of alltime. I dont care how many NY times crossword puzzles Malkmuss can complete.

  2. Ignis Sol Says:

    “Time After Time” is one of my all-time core favorites. This R.E.M. sound spawned many imitators in that era and beyond. The twang guitar and march-like drum reminds me of its cousin “King of Birds” and, in a way, even “Electron Blue”

    The lyrics are great: “Ask the girl of the hour by the water tower’s watch” and “when the bull’s on his hooves, when you gather friends by the tower.” Typically Stipean lyrics when they are subject to your own personal interpretations.

    And who is Annealise anyway? Is it someone who spurned Malkmus? πŸ™‚

  3. xman Says:

    one of my favorites.

    man, i used to love pavement so much in high school. after 10 years though, their laissez faire approach just kind of bored me. i worry if the same thing will happen between me and r.e.m., but then i listen to songs like this and i’m like naaaaaaah no way dude- r.e.m. for life.

  4. OhLife Says:

    Ask the girl of the hour by the water tower’s watch.

    Just a side note, but I heard a rumour this lyric was in referance to an incident involving Mills. Apparently he went up the water tower with a girl and got badly sunburned while having sex for about an hour. Nice staying power MIKE!

  5. NN Says:

    Malkmus is an idiot,

    He basically said that REM never made a good record after Reckoning. He is a hipster idiot who isn’t qualified to shine the shoes of any of the members of REM.

  6. He’s a pretty huge fan of Fables of the Reconstruction too — he’s done a gorgeous cover of “Green Grow The Rushes” that I actually prefer to the R.E.M. original.

  7. Mr Cup Says:

    Another beauty. As Ignis is suggesting, I think they used this as a blueprint for more recent recordings. It would fit on Up with minor adjustment. Someone even takes a fall!

  8. xman Says:

    here, here nn- sm’s public persona is a big part of why i can’t listen to the pavemen these days. they’re so borecore.

  9. Okay, alright, I can deal with people not liking Malkmus and Pavement, but I’m not going to stand by while you call that band borecore when they are PLAINLY NOT. And what about the persona bothers you — the relentless awesomeness? For real.

  10. maclure Says:

    When I first heard this song it was the first and possibly only time I thought I’d heard an REM song done before by a different band. I just had a niggling sensation in the back of my head it was exactly like something else by somebody else… I’ve since narrowed it down to two alternatives. 1) Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper is the song in my subconscious or 2) it’s a case of REM creating something so cunningly timeless and transcendent that I thought I’d heard it before, when I hadn’t. I hope it’s the latter.

    ps. This is Patti Smith’s favourite REM song I once heard, although that must be in retrospect as she didn’t get into the band until “The One I Love” was charting well.

  11. OhLife Says:

    relentless awesomeness? Wowee Zowee! Ive never heard anything so Slanted and enchanted! Pavement couldnt come close to brightening the corners of any of REM’s Gold Soundz! Malkmus continues his crooked Reign as an oober goober and if I ever meet him id spit on that strnager.

  12. xman Says:

    eh, i know you like pavement, matthew. i did too once. maybe music class ruined my appreciation for guys like pavement who are so technically limited. neither singer can sing very well at all. i mean, type slowly, newark wilder hit the plane down..cmon the voices sound like shit.
    the guitars are tuned interestingly, but in terms of composition, there’s not much that’s musically interesting or innovative. it’s still pop, just done semi-professionally. just some pretty sensical midtempo melodies and the same old gtr/bass/drum arrangement.
    all in all, i think they were just a really limited bunch of guys in terms of what they could express and how they could express it. i remember watching the final performance of “here” on slow century and being awestruck at how retardedly simple the guiar playing was. (lack of) range life.

    the band did have amazing chemistry on most of their records, i will always give them that, and because that was obviously missing from smsolo and psoi, i didn’t bother staying up to date with them. i guess i just felt sm was a prick for breaking up pavement to come up with such a wack first solo album.

    i’ve just outgrown them. they used to charm me, but hey, maybe i got sick of listening to the same old songs or somethin, but these days i’d much rather listen to children of bodom or something.

  13. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Ohlife , refer to lyrics anntotations on right for more juicy details of watertower debauchery incident

    Velvet Underground, very much so, this one

  14. ScottMalobisky Says:

    who will be your book this season?
    ask the girl of the hour

  15. Kirsten Says:

    Pure and simple – it’s perfect classic REM! Bill does an amazing job on this one – there’s just something about that beat. And Peter, well what can I say? Perfection.
    Absolutely Love It.

    Interesting note about Mike and the watertower there, never knew that. Might be something Mike made up and spread around…

  16. Kirsten Says:

    One more thing, I’ve never got the (Annelise) reference. Who or what is that about? (One of the girls with Mike??) Or is it just one of those things they put in to make us all come up with outragous explinations? Not making sense just for the sake of being different??
    Still, gotta love these boys…

  17. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    I love “Unseen Power” and Pavement’s cover of “The Killing Moon”, but not a whole lot else. Time After Time always seemed like it should have more to it to me. It is pleasant and enjoyable, but for me no way is it classic REM. Its sort of Reckoning’s “Perfect Circle” without the same level of simplistic grandeur.

  18. xman Says:

    annelise is supposedly a ref to anne frank

  19. Kirsten Says:

    Was she with Mike?? πŸ™‚

    Thanks xman. Sorting it out in my head now.

  20. dan Says:

    pavement is also my all-time favorite band, and “unseen power” is also the first song of theirs i heard. between that and their version of “camera,” (and numerous live covers like the aforementioned “green grow the rushes”) they hold a special place in my heart not only for their own music, but for sharing my love of r.e.m.

  21. Mr Cup Says:

    Guys – Did Malkmus say he didn’t like this song or that it was his least favourite?

  22. ScottMalobisky Says:

    well , her body would have been beyond decomposed, too far gone for a zesty session of the necrophilia/pedophilia combo

  23. ScottMalobisky Says:

    least favorite , which brings up a good point , maybe he loved it but one has to be your least favorite , right?………

  24. Kirsten Says:

    I just read in the Lyric Annotations Section that one of the girls was Peter’s ex-wife Barrie.

  25. Wow, it’s just sort of amazing how much I want to smack around the Pavement haters here, but you know, it’s an R.E.M. site with R.E.M. fans and I just have to accept that for better and for worse.

  26. Paul Alferink Says:

    Best line (Steven Malkmus):

    I’m not who you think I am
    I’m the king of Siam
    I got a bald head my name is Yul Brenner
    And I am a famous Movie Star

    Perhaps you saw me in Westworld
    I acted like a robotic cowboy
    It was my best role,
    I cannot deny I
    felt right home deep inside
    an electronic likeness.

    This song is okay. It does suck that Cyndi Laupers song is more popular, a wonderful song to use to get girls to want to just be friends with you. Or maybe that’s my experience.

  27. It’s “electronic carcass.”

  28. Paul Alferink Says:

    Really? That does work better.

    I guess my point was, REM is way cooler then pavement, but I like Pavement and Malkmus solo stuff too.

    This song reminds me of “Dead Shark” by Liz Phair, but I have no idea why. . .

    Best lines:
    The strange yelps in the back ground after the bridge.

  29. Paul Alferink Says:

    Plus it has a great video . . .

  30. xman Says:

    did any good albums come out in 2001? i remember looking forward to so much stuff back then and being tremendously letdown. i thought everyone in the music industry had drunk some bad milk or something- that sm solo album is reminding me of a year in which nothing really spectacular came out.

    oh wait, “the blueprint”…that was a great album, but was that all there was?

  31. Paul Alferink Says:

    Musicforthemorningafter- Pete Yorn
    Those are the three albums I liked from 2001. However, Yorn and the Gorillaz came out of nowhere. But then, I mostly stopped paying attention to pop music around 1998, so I’m probably a bad person to ask.

  32. Aerothorn Says:

    I’ve never heard of Pavement. I’ll get Slanted and Enchanted and see what I think. Hey, for a double album it’s damn cheap.

  33. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Pete Yorn opened for REM the one time I saw them
    Lateralus is kinda dissappointing

    otherwise I plead nolo contendre across the board

    what’s that I hear ?
    the zesty yelps of yeoman

  34. bryan charles Says:

    i’ve been reading this site with pleasure since its inception. sometimes even the comments are interesting. but some of this shit people are saying about Pavement is blowing my fucking mind. i guess maybe there are just two sets of biases going on here–Pavement is my all-time favorite band–but a lot of the comments about Pavement are way way off. i would question whether anyone who describes Stephen Malkmus’s guitar playing as “limited” or calls him an idiot (?!) has ever even heard his music. R.E.M. is one of my favorite bands but i personally think they haven’t written a memorable song since Up (something i haven’t felt the need to barge in and scream when people post comments about how much they love Around the Sun). that’s going on a decade of underachieving. i hope the new record proves me wrong. i don’t expect to change too many people’s minds with this post, that’s not the way the internet works. i just wanted to register my dismay at the oddly personal venom folks are slinging at a band i consider to be better than, and just as influential as, the one many of you worship blindly in these comments.

  35. xman Says:

    yes, everybody has opinions, so why not discuss them on a discussion forum?

    when i thnk of guitar playing that isn’t limited, i can pretty much leave behind 90% of western pop, r.e.m. included. i mean, there’s other genres of music out there in the world where you’ll find artists really mastering their instruments.

    pavement needed two drummers to get their percussion sounding just competetent enough. they made a career and style out of being underachievers. their rock was ust so basic, and i think i liked their melodies before because it was never hard to get a sense of where they were going. i don’t really like that kind of predictability so much these days though. gimme really crazy rock, or at least make the songs somewhat memorable.

    funny how the things i fault them for i used to admire.

  36. lenny Says:

    I think xman sums up Pavement for me with this simple line: “they made a career and style out of being underachievers”. For this reason, I find Pavement no more original or talented than Weezer, who I like much better than Pavement, for some reason.

    Bryan Charles is way off base. If almost everyone on this site speaks from their soul about how profound and touching REM’s music has been for them, where does he come up with this line: “worship blindly”? That’s a ridiculous generalization, and quite ignorant.

  37. Way to stick to that received wisdom, xman.

  38. Seriously, if that’s what you get from Pavement — “underachievers,” slackers, whatever — then I seriously have no issue with saying that you’re being very dim about that band, and most likely R.E.M as well.

  39. xman Says:

    easy boy, i know it’s a lot easier to appreciate all the little nuances in a band’s repetoire when you’re a fan of them. my issue with pavement is the interchangeability of their discography. on some albums they may have turned the feedback down and played a little slower- but where do you really find pavement stretching beyond the limits of 90’s indie rock? can they even express true sadness or anger in their songs?…not that i’d wanna hear sm whining, but their stylistic and technical limititations remained a burden unto them from the westing-era stuff until the bitter end.

  40. You really have no idea what you’re talking about. You really ought to just stop now.

  41. xman Says:

    wow, you’re a dork. go ahead. i’d recommend getting a life first though. are you gonna go spam my facebook too?

  42. dan Says:

    xman, i’d wager matthew is as big of a music geek (not dork) as all the rest of us here. not to mention he makes his living as a music journalist. i’m just saying we should all agree that having strong feelings about a band doesn’t warrant the status of dork. his comments to you were pretty fair; yours are crossing the line a bit.

  43. xman Says:

    no, he threatned to ban me and declare me a troll. the herasd it. honestly, dude needs to take a chill pill. hes free to enjoy pavement all hewants i do really care.

  44. xman Says:

    he erased it, i mean. thats what i meant by “go ahead.” i take it he retracts that statement. no hard feelings, really

  45. ohlife Says:

    OK so Pavement had limited playing ability. SO DID the Ramones! But it was the genius of da Bruddas to exceed their limitations! The same way REM did when performing Time after Time. Stipe lays on the visual imagery while adding layers of mystery to a straight forward event. Buck, mills, berry add simple backing acompanionment yet the appregiated guitar playing washing over the song like a warm gentle spring misting rain. The ghostly percussion is there but makes you lean in closer to the speakers to hear it. Beautiful, comforting and reminiscent of all things great about REM. The Band name Pavement perfectly describes the bands sound. Flat, hard, lifeless. Id rather look UP at REM and not down at the Pavement.

  46. MJM Says:

    I knew that when “Time after Time” came up for discussion that it would inevitably lead to Pavement and UPOTPF. It seems to have been forgotten that Malkmus’ song is an HOMAGE to REM not a put down. The Time after Time line is just a throwaway line just like the Pumpkins reference on Range Life, that’s just Malkmus and his goofy sense of humor. I had often considered REM to be a big influence on Pavement, in addition to the Fall and the Velvets, even before the No Alt comp came out. Which was shortly after Pave released the “Camera” cover as a B-side. Both of these bands are in the upper echelon for me. Both bands possessed that elusive and mysterious presence that forced you to decipher lyrics and liner notes like a puzzle or treasure map. That was one thing that I loved about both bands. The “slacker” tag will always follow Malkmus but his song writing is top notch, his guitar is very underrated and his vocals are every bit as distinctive as Stipe’s.

  47. xman Says:

    yes, ohlife, you r wise. it’s all just personal opinion and preference, but that doesn’t mean we can’t actively discuss it. i’ve been reading matt’s blog for some time and would have much rather he defended the band eloquently as oppossed to being just defensive.

    peace… love…and empathy!

  48. I’m not being defensive, I’m being dismissive.

  49. xman Says:

    but wouldnt being dismissive be not posting any contentions to begin with?

  50. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Wow, this has gotten plain stupid and childish . . . jeers to anyone else who contributes to this discussion in an infantile and ignorant manner.

  51. karen Says:

    this is a great piece of writing that resonates with me and my experiences with r.e.m. and pavement, despite the fact that i was incredibly disappointed by “unseen power.” (it was probably unavoidable – one of my favorite bands writes a song about being a fan of one of my other favorite bands – how could any one-off song live up to that?) anyway, it’s still neat to think that people were introduced to pavement by that song and enjoyed it, and lucky for me i have the pavement cover of “camera” as well, which i love.

    i don’t understand why a few people have taken this entry as an invitation to bash pavement. this blog is about matthew’s personal experiences as well as being about r.e.m.’s discography, and guess what, pavement is also part of his experience. it really shouldn’t matter whether y’all like pavement or not (it’s really quite boring, actually).

    but back to the subject at hand, i think “second guessing” is the worst song on reckoning, but that’s just because i happen to find it annoying.

  52. Ignis Sol Says:

    i want a range life….then i would settle do-own. πŸ™‚

  53. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    I agree about Second Guessing . . . but my least fave on Reckoning is Letter Never Sent. In fact, the middle of Reckoning is maybe my least favorite 3 song stretch of any REM record with Time After Time, Secong Guessing, and Letter Never Sent. I know that’s next to heresy for many of you, but that’s me.

  54. Rich Says:

    I’ve always found Pavement an interesting experiment in taking rock music and stripping it of the elements that normally resonate with me… they always felt like more of an intellectual exercise than an artistic representation of any kind of emotion or experience. Malkmus’ lyrics were simultaneously engaging and throwaway, seemingly full of craft and poetry but delivered like he’s quietly laughing at you for paying them any mind. Likewise, the songs were clearly developed, easily distinguishable from one another, and yet recorded in a deceptively passive way. Of course, this attitude helped launch the entire ’90s lo-fi indie scene (in “Summer Babe (Winter Version),” there’s a point where Malkmus sounds as though he’s about to laugh, and it’s like laughter that’s preemptively aimed at all the indie kids who will soon adore him). So basically, for me, Pavement is always interesting to listen to, and certainly historically significant. But I can’t say I listen to them very frequently — hardly ever, anymore. There’s something a little too postmodern about their music, or at the very least, about my response to it, and it frankly makes me uncomfortable.

  55. ohlife Says:

    The reason people are bashing Pavement is probably because Matthew made the entry about Time after time more about Pavement and Stephen M than about the REM song. Its not boring to bash Pavement. If its boring to bash pavement is it exciting to praise them or is it boring to praise them as well?

  56. Listen, man, if you paid attention to the entry you’d understand that Reckoning is kinda permanently tied in with Pavement in my experience, and I’ve been meaning to write about that band and their relationship to record and this was the perfect song to use as a vehicle for that. I mean, it’s very notable for me — Pavement is my favorite band and Stephen Malkmus is my favorite songwriter. Above all other things, the writing on this site is meant to be rooted in personal experience, it’s not just some guide to the band. It’s extremely subjective and I find it weird that I have to apologize for that from time to time.

  57. MJM Says:

    This reminds me that REM could take a lesson from Malk and Co. and re-release the entire IRS catalog w the same treatment that S&E, CRCR and WZ were given, i.e. a 2nd disc of Demos, B-sides, comp and live tracks.

  58. jim jos Says:

    Pavement is/was a very good band in my humble opinion, I think all of their albums are very solid, with the exception of maybe the last one. I never saw them as successors to R.E.M, which I have read before. I think that its kind of funny that Stipe choose this song to be his pick for the I feel fine best of, kind of a nod and a wink to it being to being called the least favorite song, by Pavement I think. I have to disagree with Malkumus’s opinion that R.E.M. stopped being good after Fables, since I think, at the very least, you must give R.E.M. all of the IRS years…obviously I think the outpoint since Document as been very good as well.
    As far as Pavement not being the greatest of musicians, I have to say “big whoop” as many of my favorite artists could be labeled as that. It’s the songs that matter and simple can be very good. Sometimes, there’s nothing more dull than some guitar hero jerking off on guitar solos for ten minutes. That’s a big reason why most white boy blues does nothing for me. For example, Dylan and Lennon wouldn’t win any guitar competitions, but you have to label them as musical genius. To the best of my knowledge, Stipe does not play any instruments, but he still is my favorite song writer of all time.

  59. Zack Says:

    I’m coming from an opposite perspective — I didn’t hear “Unseen Power…” until the Crooked Rain reissue, way after Pavement became my favorite band and I had my fair share of R.E.M. on the ol’ harddrive. To me, it winds up being much more of an authorial footnote than a really interesting song on its own terms (like a lot of the material on the Crooked Rain reissue and unlike the S&E and Wowee Zowee reissues…maybe that’s just me, though.) It’s really interesting to hear about it in a very different context — and it’s another one of those nice reminders of how much easier it is growing up as a music dork these days.

    Jim Jos: “some guitar hero jerking off on guitar solos for ten minutes” — Malkmus kinda does a lot of that these days. Check out (or avoid, but I’d advise against that) “No More Shoes” and “1% of One.” (Or even “Fillmore Jive” and “Half a Canyon.”)

    Matthew, I’d really love reading an “oeuvre-blog” you wrote about Pavement songs. I suppose this one’s pretty damn draining/time-consuming as it is, though…

  60. Kirsten Says:

    MJM, REM did that about 15 years ago. All of the IRS albums were re-released with 3-5 bonus tracks (outtakes, live versions and b-sides).

    Now, anyone got an opinion on Time After Time???

  61. mjd Says:

    What Bryan Charles said!!! I’ve loved both bands for years. You’d think folks might be curious to learn more about a band that obviously worshiped R.E.M., and actually had a lot in common with them in their melodicism, inscrutability, “artiness,” and just general freakin’ awesomeness! Sorry the Pavement bashers don’t get it. I’d be willing to bet the members of R.E.M. themselves (particularly Peter) would defend Pavement’s work.

  62. ScottMalobisky Says:

    aahhh , I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of my Rhapsody temporarily….!!!!!!!!……..Wanna go back and listen again to the Pavement records that I was listening to a few months ago after being turned on to them as a direct result of this site..they were certainly odd, thrashing , unusual from what I recall……Did not listen to them enough to engrave the songs on my sympathetic nerve trunks.

    looking up the Annelise reference , very curious, if I find anything definitive I’ll fill you all in

  63. Mr Cup Says:

    Didn’t the founding members of Pavement meet at an REM concert after all?

  64. Jordan Says:

    This begs the question Matthew, whats your least favorite song? Since we’re talking about Reckoning, my least favorite is Seven Chinese Bros. For a couple reasons. Michael sounds dull almost whiny; his monotone can work but not when he repeats the same verse and chorus 3 times. Also, Voice of Harold is infinitely better version of the same melody, from the amusing lyrics, to the effort that Michael puts into his vocals.

  65. My least favorite on Reckoning in “Second Guessing.”

  66. Kirsten Says:

    I love second guessing, it’s great to jump around to…

  67. Paul Alferink Says:

    Stipe plays piano a little. He barely plays guitar a little, also.

    My only thought on time after time is regret that I have never been arrested for cavorting nude with two females on a water tower. And as far as one of them being Buck’s future (ex-)wife, the rockville chick (Ingrid Schnor?) that Mike Mills dated also dated Bill Berry. I wonder who else has multiple REM member notched on their bed post?

  68. Paul Alferink Says:

    7 Chinese Brothers would be entirely forgettable if it weren’t for the Voice of Harold. Easily my least favorite.

  69. Paul Alferink Says:

    I wonder what The Revelaires think of the liner notes being more famous as a throw away b-side album track then they ever would were as an actual album.

  70. Kirsten Says:

    Good Lord Paul, I dread to think. In those younger days they probably had a few “group sessions” – let’s not go there….

  71. Paul Alferink Says:

    Please. Stipy doesn’t even play for the same team as everyone else, at least not all the time. And I bet Peter doesn’t share well.

  72. Paul Alferink Says:

    Bill and Mike, though. I bet all the way back in high school. I mean, those marching band uniforms. And you know they went to band camp. Someone is bound to have brought a flute. . .

  73. Kirsten Says:

    Wish I was there……

  74. Figgy Says:

    Wow… this blog is taking a new direction!

    I’ve already typed up my comments for the song, but they’re gonna seem so tame and sober compared to the perceived dilemna of Peter and Michael sharing at a group session.

  75. Figgy Says:

    And here it is (sorry to stay on subject)…

    My first experience of this song was at my first REM gig back in ’89. The band did their sparse but beautiful ‘Time After Time/Red Rain/So Central Rain’ medley and it really stood out, despite me never hearing the song(s) before. A few weeks later I “discovered” that same medley (recorded live in Utrecht) on the B-side of a ‘Finest Worksong’ single. My very next REM purchase was ‘Reckoning’ for no other reason than I noticed both ‘Time After Time’ and ‘So Central Rain’ were on it.

    I wasn’t disappointed by the album version of ‘Time After Time’. The guitar line and percussion are an almost hypnotic combination. I was never really concerned with the real meaning of the lyrics (the story of Mike Mills shagging on top of the water tower has come as a surprise) – I like the song for the way it makes me feel. In different ways it conveys feelings of youth, sexual anticipation, uncertainty about new relationships, peer pressure, social awkwardness… all those things that were part of my life at the time!

  76. ScottMalobisky Says:

    with all due affection , how can you possibly call 7 Chinese Brothers your least favorite on Reckoning ??! that is one of the BEST, most interesting, songs on Reckoning–by far!!–more than ever it amazes me how our opinions could be so different on these things……. ..Jordan and Paul…….( I like Matthew’s somewhat Clintonian response to the question of his least favorite song , you’ll notice he gave his least favorite song from Reckoning πŸ™‚ I asked him his favorite song a while ago..maybe it’s popsong’89 judging by the title of this blog….but, What the hell do I know ? )

  77. Kirsten Says:

    It’s not our fault, Figgy – Michael Stipe started it!

  78. Mr Cup Says:

    Maybe the shared girlfriend thing is what turned Michael off women.
    It’s nice to think a rhythm section could form such close bonds this way.

    I am from a small town!

  79. Kirsten Says:

    Reading between the lines of that last entry.

  80. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Kirsten , did you really almost die “a couple of times” from autoerotic asphyxsiation ???????????

  81. ScottMalobisky Says:

    they were keeping time together
    the DVD will be called ‘When This Orifice Is Mine’

  82. Kirsten Says:

    I’m just daydreaming mate. Sounds like Mr Cup is the one you should be questioning. πŸ™‚

  83. Jordan Says:

    To summarize, 7 Chinese Bros = ZZZzzzz… and Voice of Harold = more effort,energy. If it werent for voice of harold, i might not call it my least favorite, it would prolly fall into the category of just ok rem joints, but when I hear how good something couldve been my reaction to the actual released version is more charged. When i think “least favorite”, I’m only thinking of something off of reckoning, but thats just a reaction to the malkmus lyrics.

    Scott whats your least favorite (reckoning) song?
    And speaking of differing opinions, what are the odds for an REM fanboy/girl to have So Central Rain as their “least favorite”?

  84. Kirsten Says:

    Scott, Where can I get a copy of that DVD?!???

  85. ScottMalobisky Says:

    I think my least favorite of Reckoning is this one (if you are really asking me to choose)..The odds are HIGHLY UNLIKELY considering that So. Cenral Rain may be the best thing they ever recorded…well , maybe Find The River might be the best thing they ever recorded..Note that I’m not referring to these songs as my personal favorites , just acknowledging them for what they are from an objective point of view (Find The River taps into something very profound, much deeper than rock and roll and So. Central Rain is just a perfect pop song)

  86. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Kirsten , it’s hidden in my orifice , oh , I mean my office…but wait I don’t have an office although I do have nineteen orifices not counting skin pores.

  87. Mr Cup Says:

    I have complete faith no-one will be any way dismissive of So. Central Rain. Unless of course they wanna dose of Mr Cup and his posse…by the swings…after school…grrrrr

  88. Kirsten Says:

    Eww, um, thanks Scott.

    I can’t see anyone not liking So Central Rain either. If so, we’ll get them at the same time as those Wendell Gee bashers!

  89. gary Says:

    any chance you can send me an mp3 of malkmus doing “green grow the rushes”?

  90. Martijn Says:

    Shouldn’t it be “Time After Time (AnnElise)”? πŸ˜‰

    Believe it or not but when ripping the song for my iPod I was torn between using caps as on the sleeve of “Reckoning”, writing it as Matthew did, or writing it as AnnElise… Last years compilation made me decide on the latter πŸ˜›

  91. Rich Says:

    “So. Central Rain” is as R.E.M. as R.E.M. songs get… if you don’t love “So. Central Rain” I don’t see how you can love R.E.M. It would be like being a fan of Pavement and not liking “Trigger Cut”…

  92. Jordan Says:

    My point exactly Rich, but there could be some fans out there who dont like it, ya never know. Sorry, my last comment wasnt clear, i meant to ask two separate questions:
    1) Poll of “least favorite” Reckoning song.
    2) Do any fans not like So Central Rain.

  93. Kirsten Says:

    Least favourite from Reckoning: Harborcoat or 7 Chinese Bros. Hard to chose, but definately one of those 2 (just spent about 10 minutes trying to decide). Just like to add that I don’t dislike either song, but if I HAD to chose, that would be it. Reckoning is such a strong album.

  94. QED Says:

    Just wanted to add one more opinion to the pavement debate: you can say about pavement what you want, but ‘technically limited’ etc is really not the right way to describe them. I play guitar, and I can tell you some pavement songs have weird chords, weird tuning and weird solo’s. In contrast, most REM songs have standard chords, standard tuning (is there any REM songs with nonstandard tuning???) and no solo’s. Still I like both pavement and REM, since in pop music technical skills are not essential…

  95. dumbek Says:

    That live b-side version of “Time After Time/Red Rain/So. Central Rain” is nothing short of stunning. Absolutely beautiful. If you’ve never heard it, you really need to.

    Least favorite Reckoning track? Probably “Letter Never Sent”. I like it, but if I have to choose one, that’s gotta be it.

  96. lenny Says:

    I won’t say anything else about Pavement, because I got slammed for it before — sorry, I probably don’t know enough about the band to comment further. (Other than this: my favorite Pavement song is “Unfair”)

    Rich is absolutely right — if you don’t love So Central Rain, you can’t love REM. When Reckoning came out, I was like 9 years old, so obviously I got into the band at a later time. So, Eponymous was my first exposure to REM. I loved So Central Rain and liked (don’t Go back To) ROCKVILLE from that compilation, but now that I know and love Reckoning as one of my favorite REM albums, I’m tempted to say that “Rockville” is my least favorite track on Reckoning. Maybe it’s just that the feel of the song just doesn’t fit the rest of the album for me. Anyone else in that boat?

  97. ScottMalobisky Says:

    not I brother , my boat is in a different sapphire sea entirely ……always liked DGBTR as the best song of the second half of the record by a considerable distance

  98. jnf Says:

    can’t bear to troll through all 500 comments, but just wanted to say that “unseen power…” was the song that got me into pavement, *because* of the r.e.m. namecheck, rather than the other way around.

    r.e.m. – the band of my teens
    pavement – the band of my twenties.

  99. profligateprofiterole Says:

    (don’t) shoot the singer
    actually I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet
    some scum with a gun at a concert

  100. themanbeyond Says:

    Q: What’s the hardest thing about liking alternative rock?

    A: (the) Pavement. Ha Ha

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