When I first saw/heard “The One I Love” on MTV, I was scared. This music was creepy and the video was rural and visually incoherent from a 80’s 14 year-old’s perspective. I asked my brother about them and he said they were a band that had been around for a while but nobody ever heard about them until now–except for those who were weird college kids.
My brother wasn’t a believer. He had Top 40 crud in his record collection and had heard REM freaked everybody out when they last played at a small bar near campus.
I kept watching “The One I Love” make the rounds on MTV, and within a few months, I spotted Reckoning in the bedroom of a friend’s older brother–He was in college and rather “weird.” I borrowed the album and listened to it over and over. I’ve never looked at “weird” music the same way again. REM’s early efforts expanded my mind to the possibilities of music, and I’m sure Reckoning and Murmur have done the same for countless other little brothers and sisters who grew up with older brothers and sisters who just didn’t get it.
Thanks to weird brothers from other mothers, many of us reached a consciousness regarding music that only a band like REM could give us in a time of gyrating piggies in wedding gowns, tiny blue collar guys in monkeywrench clothes, and, well, Michael Jackson.
The murmur that grew from Athens, GA, gave us a time of Reckoning about what direction we wanted music to take. And if that makes an entire generation of alternative/indie fans weird, so be it.