1986


Title: These Days

Artist: R. E. M.

Album: Life’s Rich Pageant

Year Released: 1986

What It Is: A strong, strong track from a pivotal R. E. M. album, where they break out of the jangly guitar / mumbled vocal phase into a more traditional-rock oriented phase with clearer vocals and actual chords being thrown around by Peter Buck and Bill Berry’s drums being unleashed.

Riffage / Hookage: Just because there are chords, doesn’t mean there’s an actual riff, per se. I mean it has a strong intro (love the snare drum pop into the guitar intro) but Buck is still rather much picking his way around the chord under the verse, it’s just that he tends to use chords in the chorus now, and he’s now using a lot more effects on his guitar. Mike Mills’ bass is strong, as usual.

Cowbell?: Berry was just happy to hear his drums mixed way up there.

Words Of Wisdom: May as well post ’em all. YOU make sense of ’em:

“Now I’m not feeding off you I will rearrange your scales
If I can, and I can.
March into ocean, march into the sea
I had a hat I put it down and it sunk,
Reached down, yanked it up,
Slapped it on my head.
All the people gather
Fly to carry each his burden
We are young despite the years,
We are concern
We are hope despite the times
All of the sudden, these days
Happy throngs, take this joy wherever, wherever….

I wish to meet each one of you
And you, me, you, if I can and I can
We have many things in common, name three (three, three, three)
I had a hat and it sunk,
Reached down, yanked it up,
Slapped it on my head.
All the people gather
Fly to carry each his burden
We are young despite the years,
We are concern
We are hope despite the times
All of the sudden, these days
Happy throngs, take this joy wherever, wherever you go.”

Some say Michael Stipe was better mumbling because then you didn’t scratch your head and say “WTF did he mean by ‘rearrange your scales’?

Mixology Report: Sure. It’s a lot better than modern R. E. M. and it’s surprisingly rocking for those Stipe-skeptics.

Top Five Genius Results: What’s My Scene – Hoodoo Gurus
Behind The Wall Of Sleep – Smithereens
A Sort Of Homecoming – U2
See A Little Light – Bob Mould
Monkey To A Man – Elvis Costello

For The Good Of The Order: This album was a ‘trifecta’ for me. I bought this on cassette, LP, and CD. In fact, my man Moose and I were so anxious to hear this record we bought the vinyl LP AND the cassette at the same time.

Here’s a recent clip of R. E. M. doing this life. Notice Michael Stipe has to READ the lyrics at the beginning.

Title: Sugar Free

Artist: Wa Wa Nee

Album: Wa Wa Nee

Year Released: 1986

What It Is: Catchy 80’s dance piffle from Australia. Against all of my better sense and judgment I love this song. It’s rather funky and has a groove and is tremendously catchy, like a monovirus.

Riffage / Hookage: Well, if it didn’t have a great, catchy hook then I wouldn’t be writing about it, would I?

Cowbell?: Electronic drummin’ that stays out of the way but sets the catchy rhythm.

Words Of Wisdom: This song has words? Well, I guess so. But that’s not why I like it. It’s damn catchy.

Mixology Report: Fits in right with the 80’s because of it’s infectiously catchy goodness.

For The Good Of The Order: Did I say it was catchy?
Here’s a video I snagged from You Tube. It’s not the one that I remember but instead this is from the British version of MTV. I think they did a separate vid for each market. It’s not like they needed an elaborate storyline. But they did show off their awesome Aussie mullets!