Thursday, March 25, 2010

R.E.M. "Crush With Eyeliner"

I was in the car, flipping through stations, and I hear a familiar riff.

I'm sure this happens to you all the time. You catch a portion of a song on the radio, and the familiarity bells ring, even if you don't have the artist and title right away. And a lot of times, from the feel and the style and the instrumentation, you can hazard a guess as to who the artist is.

I heard this rockin' feedbacky jangly guitar, that screamed mid-90s, and my first thought was Nirvana.

And I laughed a few seconds later when the vocals came in, and I recognized R.E.M.'s "Crush With Eyeliner."

On the surface, it's hard to imagine confusing the two. "Everybody Hurts" would never be mistaken for "Rape Me."

But for 1994's "Monster," R.E.M. DID go loud and rockin' and Nirvana-y, almost as if to remind the world, "Hey, we were alternative long before 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' came out."

Two other Nirvana connections---"Let Me In" on "Monster" was Stipe's song to Cobain (with whom he'd become friends) after Cobain's death. And Courtney Love claimed that SHE was the "Crush With Eyeliner" that Stipe was singing about (though Stipe has since said the song was a tribute to The New York Dolls).

Hear clips of all songs mentioned in this post:

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