“Bang And Blame” by R.E.M. (1994)

From my brief initial period of MTV ownership (fall ‘94-summer ‘96?), here’s the second single from R.E.M.’s Monster. It’s unusually seductive (for them), with a brooding lead vocal by Michael Stipe and a bass/drum rumble from Mike Mills and Bill Berry. Stipe’s sister Lynda provides the female background vocals. Monster’s kind of a divisive album, coming as it did after the commercial breakthrough of Out of Time & the critical rapture that followed the release of Automatic For The People. Monster, IMO, is better than the former album (ver few things top the latter.) And it holds up well after twenty something years.

The Monster tour’s MSG stop in early ‘95 was the first arena show I ever went to (I was almost 19 at the time). I went with my co-worker Michelle and her friend from…Peekskill? Michelle was my first fag hag, and the tickets were the first I’d ever bought with my own money. Anyway, back to…Peekskill? I keep telling myself “Mike…you’re only thinking about Peekskill because of The Facts Of Life, but they might have actually been from Peekskill. Anyway, R.E.M. was great (and I was fortunate enough to catch their last American tour with Bill Berry) and played a couple of classics that I was unfamiliar with and will appear later on this list. Luscious Jackson opened and I became very briefly infatuated with them, and cans of Fresca were given to the audience outside after the show. Fresca is terrible.

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