Best tunes of 1992: #20 R.E.M. “Sweetness follows”


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If you were alive back in 1992, you knew R.E.M.’s  “Automatic for the people”. If not the whole album, at the very least, one of or a handful of its six (!) amazing singles.

I had already become a fan of R.E.M. by the time it was released, having discovered them with 1988’s “Green”, bought a copy of 1991’s “Out of time”, and gone back to explore their back catalogue, I was eagerly awaiting this album’s release. When I originally heard the first single, “Drive”, I knew we were in for it. And we definitely we. Now more than 25 years after its release, it is easily considered their finest hour. It was also a huge commercial success, selling millions upon millions worldwide and obtaining platinum status, in some cases multiple times over, in more than ten countries.

It was the singles that I loved from the beginning and they were definitely great but I’d be hard-pressed to point out a weak song on the album. And nowadays, it’s the less obvious that have stuck with me and become favourites. Case in point is today’s focus, “Sweetness follows”. It was never released as a single and is almost hidden on the album at track six, just behind the lone instrumental tune on the album. But it is there nonetheless. Beautiful.

I think its inclusion on the soundtrack for Cameron Crowe’s “Vanilla sky”, almost a decade later, was what did it for me. The film itself wasn’t wonderful, a Hollywood remake of an excellent Spanish film, and starring Tom Cruise, but the soundtrack was a masterpiece. Glancing at the names, you might be forgiven for calling it eclectic. Listening to it, especially as a backdrop to the film, is a whole different experience and it almost saves the film, giving it its overarching mood and surreal feel. This song’s appearance late in the film was a pleasant surprise but while watching it play out, I realized that I may have not ever listened to it properly before that moment.

The reverberating and distorted cello shares a space with an acoustic strum, a sustained organ wash, and of course, Stipe’s inimitable vocals, forelorn, sad, and lost. It is all about death and loss and darkness and of course, the sun rising after the bleakest of nights, washing away the dread and sadness and the most heart-wrenching of nightmares.

“Oh, oh, but sweetness follows.”

Yep. Beautiful.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1992 list, click here.

Vinyl love: Frightened Rabbit “Painting of a panic attack”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Album Title: Painting of a panic attack
Year released: 2016
Details: Gatefold

The skinny: News for those of you now sick of seeing Frightened Rabbit gracing these pages this week: this post should wrap things up for now. And for those of you revelling in it all, a bonus post for you here. I normally do only one of these “Vinyl love” things each weekend but after yesterday’s spin, it felt a bit more-ish. “Painting of a panic attack” is Frightened Rabbit’s fifth and final album, and really, not a bad one to finish off with. Great guitar heavy and textured tunes with Scott Hutchison’s excellent songwriting and passion-filled delivery. Perhaps someone out there can explain the numerology on the album artwork? Particular the importance of the 618 on the album label?

Standout track: “Woke up hurting”

Vinyl love: Frightened Rabbit “Pedestrian verse”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Album Title: Pedestrian verse
Year released: 2013
Details: Gatefold

The skinny: So this blitz on Frightened Rabbit all started off last Monday when I posted about my recent purchase of the 10th anniversary pressing of the band’s second album, “The midnight organ fight”. Then on Thursday, I posted a bunch of pics I snapped while seeing them live at Osheaga in 2013 and while putting together that gallery, I decided to make a week of it, a kind of Frightened Rabbit remembrance celebration of sorts. To that end, here’s Frightened Rabbit’s fourth album: “Pedestrian verse”: the long player that got me into the band in the first place, and the one for which they were touring when I saw them live in 2013. This record is, according to Discogs, one of the most expensive albums in my collection, going for around 1000% more than I bought it for, if I were ever in the mood to sell it, which I can’t see happening. It’s a breakup record that just rips you up from the inside and gets you dancing on the outside.

Standout track: “The woodpile”