Tag Archives: REM

New Micky Dolenz: Shiny Happy People

Video: Micky Dolenz – “Shiny Happy People”

Directed by Micky Dolenz and Andrew Sandoval. From the Dolenz Sings R.E.M. EP, out November 3 on 7A.

Well at least it’s not “Everybody Hurts.” And actually, Dolenz’s cover of REM’s second-worst song is considerably less annoying than the original. The arrangement (by Mike Nesmith’s son Christian) isn’t as cloying and saccharine. It’s still a dumb song, but that’s alright; some of the best songs in rock and roll are dumb (e.g., “Louie Louie,” “Surfin’ Bird,” etc.). It works!

The other three songs on the upcoming EP are “Radio Free Europe,” “Man on the Moon,” and somewhat unexpectedly “Leaving New York,” a 2004 single that failed to chart on the Hot 100. Dolenz says, “Once again, this EP reaffirms my long-held conviction that a solid recording always begins with solid material. You don’t get much more solid than R.E.M. What a joy to sing these classics and honor a team of outstanding writers.”

Michael Stipe says, “Micky Dolenz covering R.E.M. Monkees style, I have died and gone to heaven. This is really something. Shiny Happy People sounds INCREDIBLE (never thought you or I would hear me say that!!!).” Peter Buck adds, “I’ve been listening to Micky’s singing since I was nine years old. It’s unreal to hear that very voice, adding new depth to songs we’ve written ourselves, and inhabiting them so completely.”

The video compiles footage pulled from Micky’s personal archives, which Monkee guru Andrew Sandoval has been excavating for a new book: I’m Told I Had A Good Time: The Micky Dolenz Archives, Vol. 1, available for pre-order now. It’s 500 pages of “photography, artwork, handwritten lyrics, scripts and assorted ephemera” from Dolenz’s collection, spanning 1945-1978 and containing more than 1200 images. Sounds incredible. I own The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story from the same publisher and it’s worth every penny.

Micky Dolenz: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

R.E.M. – Accelerate

R.E.M. - AccelerateR.E.M.Accelerate (Warner Brothers)

If you haven’t heard, it’s been a while since the state of Georgia had a decent rainstorm and it’s been a while since we’ve had a decent album from R.E.M. While the weather in the Peach State is still in question, the early consensus is that the new R.E.M. album is a return to those fair-weather days of old and one that’s sure to please longtime fans.

Before we all start deeming Accelerate “the best R.E.M. album since…” let’s take a deep breath and allow all of that cynicism, resentment, and well-deserved ambivalence towards the band take hold and provide us with a much needed reality check.

The fact is, R.E.M. needed to make this album, so one has to consider the motivation behind it. It’s healthy to wonder if this album is a calculated attempt at salvaging a recording contract with Warners instead of winning back those fans who’ve given two shits about R.E.M. for some time.

Continue reading R.E.M. – Accelerate

R.E.M. just keeps getting better…

In the Huffington Post, former Chicago Reader rock critic/R. Kelly uber-fan Bill Wyman traces Rolling Stone‘s coverage of R.E.M.‘s recent releases only to discover that, according to hype-blinded critics, R.E.M. has consistently topped itself with “each successive release being so good as to make clear the flaws of the one before it.”

Yo Chuck, they must be on the pipe, right?

It might be hard for kids these days to believe, but R.E.M. used to be really exciting. And awesome. Lifes Rich Pageant is an absolutely solid rock and roll record.

Continue reading R.E.M. just keeps getting better…

People Change Their Minds

Chicago Sun-Times/Sound Opinions pop music critic Jim DeRogatis gets called out by a reader for recently calling R.E.M.‘s Around the Sun “dreadfully dull” when he originally called it their “best new album since the early 90s.” DeRo responds: Reserving the right to change my mind (on R.E.M. or anything else).

Critics aren’t really any different than fans — that’s why we became critics, because of our passion for music — and I have been an R.E.M. fan since 1981. I very much want any new recording from the band to match the brilliance of the music it released from ’81 through “Automatic for the People” in 1992. Very little of it has, though at first it has often seemed to.

As a critic, you receive an album advance a week or two before its release (at best; other times, you get it the day before). You listen as many times as possible, and then you present your emotional reaction in the intellectual form of a written review. (Some people would say there’s very little intellect involved with some critics, but you know what I mean, I hope.)

After that, like any other fan, you live with that album for two weeks, two months, two years… and sometimes your opinion changes. Sometimes, you realize, “This just isn’t holding up.”

Which albums have you been swept up by only to realize a little later that they aren’t that great? How about the other way around? Which albums took a while to sink in?

Hall of Shame: Stooges Kept Out

R.E.M., Van Halen, Patti Smith, the Ronettes, and Grandmaster Flash were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Finalists who didn’t make the cut included Chic, the Dave Clark Five and the Stooges.”

Okay, people should be embarrassed that the Dave Clark Five were even finalists. Talk about also-rans. Jesus, if they’re going to induct every band that tried hard to sound exactly like the Beatles, the Hall of Fame is going to be even more meaningless than it is now. The Dave Clark Five? Come on!

And keep out the Stooges? Lame. Then again, look at all the inductees. Looks like they started scraping the bottom of the barrel around 2000…