1985


Title: Feeling Gravity’s Pull

Artist: R. E. M.

Album: Fables Of The Reconstruction

Year Released: 1985

What It Is: A classic R. E. M. song that kicks off a moody, understated, misunderstood album. The album is murky, mysterious and unsettling, and this cut very much epitomizes that feeling.

Riffage / Hookage: Peter Buck’s guitar riff is one of the all-time classic R. E. M. riffs, and one I actually learned long ago. (Like I remember it now…) The cello and strings are a fascinating counterpoint to the whole thing.

Cowbell?: Bill Berry is very, and rightly, understated in this cut.

Words Of Wisdom: “I fell asleep and read just about every paragraph.

Read the scene where gravity is pulling me around
Peel back the mountains peel back the sky
Stomp gravity in the floor
It’s a Man Ray kind of sky
Let me show you what I can do with it
Time and distance are out of place here

Step up, step up, step up the sky is open-armed
When the light is mine, I felt gravity pull

Somewhere near the end it said
‘You can’t do this’, I said ‘I can’
To shift sway rivers shift, oceans fall and mountains drift
It’s a Man Ray kind of sky
Let me show you what I can do with it

Step up, step up, step up the sky is open-armed
When the light is mine, I felt gravity pull onto my eyes,
Holding my head straight (looking down).
This is the easiest task I’ve ever had to do…

I fell asleep and read just about every paragraph

Read the scene where gravity is pulling me around
Shift the swaying river’s shift
Oceans fall and mountains drift
It’s a Man Ray kind of sky
Let me show you what I can do with it
Time and distance are out of place here

Step up, step up, step up the sky is open-armed
When the light is mine, I felt gravity pull onto my eyes,
Holding my head straight (looking down).
This is the easiest task I’ve ever had to do…

Holding the sky in their arms
Gravity pulls me down”

Since Stipe is mumbly on the album, I thought I’d post the entire lyrics.

Mixology Report: I think you may have to watch where you put it, since it’s so moody and introspective. But yeah, throw it on a mix!

Top Five Genius Results: The Replacements – Achin’ To Be
Bob Mould – See A Little Light
XTC – Mayor Of Simpleton
10,000 Maniacs – Verdi Cries
Echo & The Bunnymen – Do It Clean

For The Good Of The Order: 1985, Butler University. The Minutemen opened up. Who the heck thought it was their third to last gig? R. E. M. came out on stage. Stipe had a music stand and a bag over half of his head, and sung to the side of the mike. They opened with this. My girlfriend wasn’t that whelmed, but I about lost my cookies. Sorry, Marie, I wasn’t that fun of a date that night, but I was in heaven.

Here’s the official vid. It’s very much influenced by Neil Young’s films, I think (as in, WTF am I watching here?)

Here’s a live cut from 2003

And now, from their Dublin shows which were compiled in a totally KICK ASS album just recently. Go buy it! YESTERDAY!

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Title: Her Head’s Revolving

Artist: The Three O’Clock

Album: Arrive Without Traveling

Year Released: 1985

What It Is: Excellent “paisley underground” rock with a kick ass guitar riff (kind of out of the norm for this band, but hey, I’ll take it). This was the first cut on their major label debut, which stiffed for whatever reason. Maybe because the rest of it wasn’t as guitar heavy as this. Dunno.

Riffage / Hookage: Louis Guitierrez’ guitar adds muscle to the pretty hooks from Michael Quercio.

Cowbell?: Not that I can tell.

Words Of Wisdom: You know, I can’t find the lyrics on-line, and I don’t want to guess, but has to do with her head revolving like a Catherine wheel around the rock-and-roll.

Mixology Report: Quercio’s girly voice is not for everyone, but there’s enough here to please anyone even if turned off by his vocals.

Top Five Genius Results: It’s kind of rare and not on iTunes, so no dice on Genius.

For The Good Of The Order: Guiterrez left the band after this album and kicked around the LA scene with Mary’s Danish. Quercio & Co. soldiered on for two more albums. Later, Quercio founded two great bands, Permanent Green Light and The Jupiter Affect. He still may be kicking around LA with the latter. It’s hard to tell from their web site.

Ah, gotta love cheap 80’s videos!

(Now this veers me back into the ditch…as Neil Young would say…)

Title: Death Valley ’69

Artist: Sonic Youth

Album: Bad Moon Rising

Year Released: 1985

What It Is: The critical track in moving Sonic Youth from an almost unlistenable art-damaged noise band (it’s really hard to get through their first three records, including this one) to the pinnacle of experimental alternative music. And yet, they do this by adding Lydia Lunch as a vocalist / co-conspirator on this track. Ms. Lunch usually is about as remote from listenable as you can get. But somehow…it works. And from there, they released “Evol” and “Sister”.

Riffage / Hookage: A huge huge bass line from Kim Gordon propels the track whilst Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo riff behind it.

Cowbell?: Nope. This was Bob Burt’s last stand as Sonic Youth drummer, and he used cymbals ok but basically just pounded on stuff.

Words Of Wisdom: “Deep in the valley
In the trunk of an old car
In the back of a chevvy
I got sand in my mouth you got sand in your mouth
And you got sun in your eyes I got sun in your eyes
Blind blinded
And you wanted to get there
But I couldnt go faster I wanted to get there
But you couldnt go faster
So I started to hit it you couldnt go faster
So I started to hit it
I started to hit it hit it”

Mixology Report: It’s tricky to throw Sonic Youth into a mix, since it’s rather jarring. However, if you want a jarring change, go for it!

Top Five Genius Results: “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” – The Clash (hmmm…)
“Los Angeles” – X
“Heroin” – The Velvet Underground
“Planet Of Sound” – Pixies
“The Lung” – Dinosaur Jr.

For The Good Of The Order: I saw Sonic Youth open for Neil Young in 1991. Many of the Young acolytes were, um, NOT impressed by the Youth, and their sound doesn’t really fit an arena. But put ’em in a club, then that’s something else entirely.

Here’s the Richard Kern clip that Universal won’t let me embed. (Why, I dunno.) It features Lung Leg (the cover girl for “Evol” and Kern actress) along with Lunch and the band.

And here’s a live clip from 1998 with Steve Shelley on drums (of course).

Title:She Sells Sanctuary

Artist: The Cult

Album:Love

Year Released: 1985

What It Is:The lead single from the Cult’s breakout album. After a few years of scuffling in the UK with name and direction changes, the Cult strike it rich with a blend of psychedelia and hard rock. Soon they would abandon the psychedelia, but for this record at least it was all wah-wah’s and mystical lyrics.

Riffage / Hookage: Oh hell yeah! It’s a monster riff. On the studio version, overdubbed acoustic guitar gives emphasis to it, but Billy Duffy’s riffage is strong.

Cowbell?: No, but Mark Impossible Name To Spell Brzezicki (drummer for Pete Townshend and Big Country) provided solid beats. The Cult never really settled on a drummer.

Words Of Wisdom: You know, I looked at the lyrics. I really don’t have a clue. Ian Astbury could sing the phone book and it would be just right for this song.

Mixology Report: Damn straight you mix it, especially for a young in’ who missed all of the Cult’s glory days hoo-hah. And mix it for the chicks, and then point them to the vid below, showing Astbury in hip swervy mode (among the 80’s visual effects).

For The Good Of The Order: First they were the Southern Death Cult, then the Death Cult, and then the Cult, and then they went from Native American imagery to psychedelia to proto-metal to glammy hard rock back to Native American imagery. All that in 10 years. Whew…

Here’s a live clip of them. I dig the echo on Billy Duffy’s guitar