The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.
I have always felt that there was something larger going on as the chords to ‘Begin the Begin,’ introduced a new look R.E.M. This was not a band that was looking to continue the muttled fables of the southern reconstruction but understanding the role of a band and coming to terms with it. They were not storytellers but directing and leading.
Answer me a question, I can’t itemize
I can’t think clearly, look to me for reason
It’s not there, I can’t even rhyme, begin the begin
This is such a revealing moment in my opinion. Rock and roll is focused on musicians becoming the 20th century philosophers. Understanding the nuances of putting a couple chords together and several clever words makes you a sage, regardless of your age or background. I think that for several years it took the band to understand the emotional toll that this would take on the band.
It was only a year prior that the band was in the midst of a potential breakup. The Fables Era was noted as being a rough period for the band. They were recording an album in a foreign country, it was cold and there were questions on how the band would proceed.
Lifes Rich Pageant offers this social/political awareness that did not exist prior to this record and Begin the Begin is an anthem for the people. It’s energies are induced by the masses even with slight hints to Soviet Era Russia i.e. ‘Silence means security, silence means approval’ but identifies that the masses can own the power if they choose to do it.
For me, this was the point at which R.E.M. decided that they wanted to conquer the world.
On a final note:
Certain days have offered several worthy choices. I am not sure that I would feel entirely positive about this post if I were not to offer at least a couple of sentences of support of my favorite Bauhaus tune, ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’, the nine and a half epic goth hit that’s going to be eventually make it’s way to my front yard in a week or so to prevent a certain holiday ‘All Hallows Eve’. (I have several handmade songs that make up our pop music graveyard.)
Beyond the song just exhibiting all the classic goth moments, I have always had a soft spot for Bela Lugosi in general. I imagine that from a child growing up in the 30’s that his portrayal of Dracula has to be legendary.
Yes, the bats have left the belltower.
• PJ Harvey – Before Departure
• R.E.M. – Begin the Begin
• Velvet Underground – Beginning to See the Light
• Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead