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I spent the last month listening to every REM studio album in chronological order - Collapse Into Now

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We have arrived at the end. Well kind of, this is not the last REM related blog post, there are still some playlists coming up and I already decided to have a look at their first ever release, Chronic Town. Collapse Into Now was the last album REM released. And as perfect as my timing is, it was released ten years ago, in spring 2011. They disbanded in autumn 2011. But before we go into it, there is a hair issue to be addressed.

What is this hairstyle?


So every member (except for Bill Berry, who is perfect) had made unfortunate hair decisions over the years. Stipe's haircut during the Green tour (a rat tail) should have been the worst, followed by Mills's soul patch. In the end Peter Buck however decided to take the price home for worst hairstyle simply by being the most persistent. My first thought was that he had somehow upset his hairdresser, or lost a bet, but he has kept the Prince Valiant hairstyle since 2011.

Collapse Into Now
They knew this would be the last album when making it. It is reflective both in tone and music. There are songs that remind me of Automatic for the People (Oh My Heart), Reveal (UBerlin and Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando And I), New Adventures in HiFi (Blue) and there is also still the "typical REM sound" they resurrected with Accelerate (Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter, That Someone is You, Mine Smell Like Honey). Mills's organ is back as is Buck's Mandolin and to my delight there is also an accordion on Oh My Heart (I loved the accordion on You Are The Everyting, back at Green and was always sad they did not use it more). The accordion is not played by Mills this time, but long time collaborator Scott McCaughey, who also got a writing credit on Oh My Heart. Next to their usual studio musicians, they also collaborated with a lot of outside artists, a bucket list of people they like to work with. There is Eddie Vedder and Joel Gibb belting out background vocals on It Happened Today as if their life depended on it. They pay homage to their punk influences by including Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye and Peaches, especially on Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter.

They use the same producer as on Accelerate, Jacknife Lee, but the sound is much broader on this album. You can hear their whole spectrum, the folk influenced mid tempo songs, the punk influence, the jangly rock. I am more forgiving to this album looking backwards, rather than forwards, considering it is their last. A full stop to an almost 30 year long career. But it also makes me sad, the album has a real "we are done, thank you for the good times" vibe . Good for them, being able to retire in dignity, before the world decides for them that their time is over. (I haven't actually spent much time checking out what they did after REM; but my guess is none of them ended up at Dancing with the Stars.)

Shout outs:
  • UBerlin and Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando And I reminds me again that Reveal was a good album and I'm quite glad they embraced the direction they went in on this album again

  • Oh My Heart makes me really emotional, the song is from the point of view from someone returning home to New Orleans after Katrina, but it also resonates with me and my complicated relationship with Iceland

  • Everyday Is Yours To Win has Mills on guitar and Buck on bass.


  • Closing thoughts:
    It is a solid album, but I will never enjoy as much listening to it as it makes me sad. I think it was a good decision for them to break up when they did, everything as to end sometimes. But even a good end is an end and I am not ready to let go yet. So after the post Bill Berry playlist in the next post, I will return back to the beginning and look at Chronic Town. I'll also spend some time on Wikipedia and see what they have been up to the past 10 years.


    Picture of the week - Footprint in snow

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    The weather has been really nice, tricking me into thinking spring is coming. In order to curb my optimism I will post some pictures from an Easter trip a few years ago for the next few pictures of the week.

    Footprint_in_Snow


    Newspaper headlines this last week

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    In chronological order

    Believes magma at a depth of seven kilometers is pushing up


    This is much more likely to stop before an eruption occurs


    View new locations where eruptions could occur


    A fissure eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula will last longer than a week


    "Clearly continued activity" and the possibility of a shift a week after the big earthquake


    Sharp earthquakes are still being felt, although no eruptions are expected in the next few hours


    The eruption is still expected to begin


    Thousands more earthquakes but less likely to erupt: "Of course we can never rule out anything yet"



    If there will be an eruption the volcano will be called: Þráinsskjaldarhraun, because Icelanders hate foreign news anchors. I would propose to call it: Stríðni (tease). Either start erupting or stop the constant earthquakes!

    Somebody set up the website Er komið eldgos? (Is there an eruption yet?)
    Posted on - Categories: Iceland


    Cool German Words - Unwort

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    In German it is possible to easily make up new words, thanks to our affinity for compound words. Every year new words are created this way, expressing the public consciousness. Since 1971 the Society of the German Language has chosen a word of the year, celebrating our linguistic creativity. But if you can create new words to express developments in society, you can also express it's ugly side. Entering the Unwort (anti-word or un-word). Since 1991 a committee of linguist chose the Unwort des Jahres. Going over the list of these words can make you lose faith in humanity. There is

  • Wohlstandsmüll (prosperity waste) - Deprecatory term coined by Helmut Maucher (then CEO of Nestlé) during an interview, referring to people who are either presumed unable or reluctant to find employment, who in his opinion exist because of the highly developed welfare and social support systems in Germany.

  • betriebsratsverseucht (contaminated by works councils) - This offensive neologism (reportedly used internally by the Bauhaus management) describes a business with a strong works council, which takes care of the interests of the employees and thus presses for concessions on the employer's side.

  • Döner-Morde (döner murders) - A term used by police investigators to describe a series of murders of mostly Turkish shop and restaurant owners between 2000 and 2006, originally attributed to presumed links of the victims to organized crime groups. In 2011, it was revealed that, in fact, all of these murders were racial hate crimes committed by members of a previously unknown terrorist group called National Socialist Underground, which resulted in widespread criticism of the police for their initial determination.

  • Opfer-Abo (victimization subscription) - The term was coined by Jörg Kachelmann in the wake of a trial against him on sexual assault charges, in order to promote his perception that women had the tendency to repeatedly make false claims of crimes such as rape, to further their interests.

  • Sozialtourismus (welfare tourism) - The accusation that asylum seekers shop around for the country with the beast social security system to leech off of. Used to defend the use of the Dublin regulations to send asylum seekers back to the country of entry into Europe.


  • Happy Monday!


    Picture of the week - Coud Forest

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    Forest hidden in the clouds on Emei Mountain in Sichuan. This is the last picture from my stay in China in 2018 and also one of my favourites.

    CouldForest


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