After their 1982 EP Chronic Town started a buzz, Murmur arrived in a blaze of glory. Optimistic yet not naïve, R.E.M.'s lean and propulsive tunes invigorated a music scene lost in the post-disco doldrums. Although they seemed like true believers in the healing power of rock, R.E.M. were no garage band; their sound was meticulously detailed and its density was highlighted by Peter Buck's chiming guitar, Bill Berry's percussion, and Mike Mills's percolating bass. Songs like "Radio Free Europe" and "Talk About the Passion" typified the recording's smart lyrics and clever arrangements. The band built its following via college radio and this constituency helped make alternative a marketing category (then a cliché) in years to come. Meanwhile the band went on to make some of the defining recordings of late 20th Century rock and roll.
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Performance CreditsR.E.M. Primary Artist
Peter Buck Guitar
Mike Mills Bass,Drums
Michael Stipe Vocals
Bill Berry Bass,Percussion,Drums
Technical CreditsDon Dixon Producer,Engineer
Peter Buck Composer
Mitch Easter Producer,Engineer
Mike Mills Composer
Michael Stipe Composer
Bill Berry Composer
Bertis Downs Contributor
Jefferson Holt Contributor
Carl Grasso Artwork
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REM, rewards the attentive listener. Their music is bursting with pleasant surprises which begin to surface only after a few plays. Influences ranging from the Byrds to Hermans Hermits to the Dave Clark Five abound, while the band still sounds truly distinctive. Songs which on first listen seem to be filler begin to take on life and power-you may find your favorite track changing with each play. Although the lyrics are often unclear-even when they're comprehensible through Michael Stipes throaty vocals-it doesn't-really matter. In R.E.M.'s music, vocals are more than just lyrics, they add to the total experience by blending with and contrasting to the music. And when a lyric does come through (again, with repeated listening) the imagery is often startling. Murmur is a truly superb debut album, showcasing a new and innovative approach to rock and pop music. Just ashy made U2 the most talked about 1981's Chronic Town, Murmur makes R.E.M. the band to watch in 1983.
Murmur is the strongest CD that R.E.M. has made, every song on it is good. Don't listen to the other reviewers who say that other R.E.M. Cd's are better. Murmur is clearly superior, yes even better than Out of Time.
The headline may seem like a bit of an overstatement, but this really is an amazing collection of songs. The entire album is this incredible murky mix of Bill Berry's driving and accented beats, Mike Mills' strong bass grooves, and Peter Buck's jangling, syncopated guitar. Not to mention Michael Stipe's and Mills' dueling vocal leads and harmonies. Lesser-known standouts include ''Pilgrimage,'' ''Laughing,'' ''Moral Kiosk,'' ''Sitting Still,'' ''9-9,'' and ''Shaking Through.'' This is in addition to the more-famous ''Radio Free Europe'' and ''Talk about the Passion.'' Get this album.
This guy is batting .000 with his reviews. Anyway, Murmur is great. This album INVENTED the genre we now call alternative. Propulsive, beautiful songs like Radio Free Europe, Talk About the Passion, Laughing, and all the rest provide a great look back at the beginnings of R.E.M. and a great listening experience. It's just a preview of the even greater albums to follow (like Green, Automatic for the People and YES Out of Time, among others)