Tuesday, 27 September 2011

R.E.M. and Paul Young


 I know you may be wondering what R.E.M. and Paul Young have to do with each other; the answer is: not a lot, really, except that I've recently been listening to and enjoying music from both of them.

 When I first heard that R.E.M. had split up, it didn't really mean a lot to me. I wasn't really familiar with R.E.M.; the only song I could have named as being by them was Everybody Hurts.

 However, I quickly found out that they were the ones who sung Losing My Religion; a song that has gained special significance for me this summer. And further investigation revealed that they were also the band behind Bad Day, the iconic video for which I had seen once on TV; I had enjoyed the song since but never really knew who it was by.

 So, it turns out I have enjoyed R.E.M.'s music for a long time without realising it. Bad Day, I am so happy to have rediscovered. It is what it says on the tin really; just the perfect song to listen to when you've been having a bad day.

 And I still find the video really impressive. It is one of those where you keep spotting new things everytime you watch it. I would post the official video if I could but it seems you can't post it on Blogger : ( So you will just have to YouTube it, I'm afraid.

 Losing My Religion I first heard properly on a minibus on the way to a Duke of Edinburgh's Award expedition in the Lake District. It therefore stuck in my head the whole time I was there; trekking through forests, scrambling over walls, fighting my way through ferns taller than me which made me feel like a fairy or a pixie.

 The group I was in were really lovely, and so were the places we walked through. But the weather was terrible the second day, and I was slowly losing the will to live and wishing I could go home, and this song was in my head, playing over and over, the only bit I really knew...

 "I thought that I saw you laughing,
I thought that I heard you sing,
I think I thought I saw you try..."

 Except I thought the last line was, "I think I thought I saw your smile."

 And those few lines became the soundrack to that D of E expedition for me. It has a special significance for me now. I don't know what the supposed religious connotations are; I haven't listened to the whole song enough for that, nor seen the video properly. I listen to it because of what it means to me. It gave me hope and it kept me going. It will always be special to me now.

 I also like Shiny Happy People, which I discovered through Bad Day, and I really like it and especially the female singer(Kate Pierson?)'s voice, which I think is beautiful and adds so much to the song.

 Now for Paul Young... I was listening to Senza Una Donna, which I have enjoyed since I was a child, even before I understood what the Italian lyrics meant, and I saw in the related videos Everytime You Go Away, which I was pretty sure I had heard once on the radio in the car, and which I had liked. 

 So, I listened to it, and yes, it was the same song, and yes, I did enjoy it - even more, in fact, now that I heard the intro, which I think is one of the the most beautiful intros to a song that I have ever heard (it also reminds me of Love and Regret by Deacon Blue), and which epitomises the very best of the synth sound of the 80s. It is a simply beautiful song.

 So, this week I have discoevered - or re-discovered, a great deal of good music. It's just a shame that it took R.E.M. breaking up for me to realise how good they were, and how much I had always enjoyed their music without even knowing who they were.

 Thanks for reading.

 Liz x

Songs: Bad Day - R.E.M. (2003)
           Losing my Religion - R.E.M. (1991)
           Shiny Happy People - R.E.M. (1991)
           Senza Una Donna - Zucchero and Paul Young (1991)
           Everytime You Go Away - Paul Young (1985)

P.S. I hadn't realised they were all from 1991! Must have been a good year for music! But then I guess every year is.

 Liz x

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