R.E.M.'s debut album, released in 1983, was so far removed from the prevailing trends of American popular music that it still sounds miraculous and out of time today.
J. Niimi tells the story of the album's genesis - with fascinating input from Don Dixon and Mitch Easter. He also investigates Michael Stipe's hypnotic, mysterious lyrics, and makes the case for Murmur as a work of Southern Gothic art.
J. Niimi begins his entry to the 33 1/3 series with a sequence of quotes on poetry and art one of which is from R.E.M. frontman Michael Stype: "Don't dissect us in a clinical linear way; come at it from somewhere else." To that end he analyzes their debut album, Murmur, track by track, and it's lyrical content, but with an ear for the vaguer qualities of art. He presents it as a Southern gothic work of art, describing Athens, Georgia and the America of the early '80s. Fred Berman performs the audiobook with his warm and smooth voice adding to the satisfying and interesting experience of Niimi's cultural and musical musings centered around one of the heralding works of the American indie music movement.
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