So, I was up late last night, unable to sleep for no reason and when I woke up at 6:15 this morning (after 3 hours of sleep) the song "Daysleeper" was in my head. When I get a song in my head I usually fire up the iPod and play it, oh, I don't know — 42 times. I enjoy that. With all the R.E.M. on my iPod, I looked for another version of "Daysleeper" because I thought I had an acoustic version, but I couldn't find one. I just knew there was an acoustic album, but it was the 2001 MTV Unplugged I was thinking about. This afternoon I set out to find video from the episode and I do believe I hit the motherload.
When a band does an unplugged set it shows what they can do, strips away the fancy studio fixes and you have a pure performance. That's great for music fans. If a band is really talented you'll hear that in the song, it shines through. What Michael Stipe does here is fantastic — he has a voice that can easily overpower a song, but he is great at controlling it in an acoustic setting and the instruments aren't drowned out.
And now for some "Daysleeper."
One of the things that's different about R.E.M. is that they really don't do love songs. I kind of love that. Of course, they do love songs, but they're not typical, they're not sappy, they're honest. That's why "At My Most Beautiful" is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs. It's sweet, but not saccharin. The piano in the song is wonderfully done and the melody is fantastic.
"I'll Take The Rain" is done very well here. I'll say what I always say while listening to my own iPod: I love this song.
I've adored "Find The River" since first hearing it on 1992's Automatic For the People, which is a fantastic album. Let me explain what that means to the iTunes generation. You see, back in the day, bands made albums. Albums were meant to be listened to as a whole, meaning the songs were connected, not necessarily a theme, but there was usually a flow and it was harmonious. These days, artists release a couple of songs and they're lucky if someone hears the entire album with the invention of iTunes. That's a sad thing because you miss those gems that aren't released as singles. "Find The River" didn't chart in the U.S. so you probably didn't hear it unless you bought the album. Here's the acoustic version.
Sadly, you can't get these acoustic takes on some of R.E.M.'s best songs on an album. In what I consider to be a great travesty, they didn't put out an accompanying album. I KNOW! I couldn't believe it either. Very sad. I'm glad that at least for now, the videos are available on You Tube, so if you enjoyed the blog today, go watch the rest and you won't be disappointed. R.E.M. is a fantastic band with music that holds up unbelievably well. And by the way, the band is currently 30 minutes away from me, in New Orleans recording their new album. Don't think I'm not working on finding out where they're recording. If we're lucky there will be a part two to this post entitled "Kerry meets R.E.M. (and they didn't have her arrested for stalking)."