Murmur is the debut studio album by American alternative rock band R.E.M., released on April 12, 1983 by I.R.S. Records. Murmur drew critical acclaim upon its release for its unusual sound, defined by lead singer Michael Stipe’s cryptic lyrics, guitarist Peter Buck’s jangly guitar style, and bass guitarist Mike Mills’ melodic basslines. Murmur’s sound characterized the quieter, introverted side of the first wave of alternative rock in the United States. The sound was new at the time, though not stepping beyond the constructs of traditional rock music. The guitars have a bright, ring-like chime that brought on comparisons to the Byrds, and the bass guitar has the bright punchy sound of the Rickenbacker favored by Mike Mills. Mills carries much of the melodic element of the music on the bass, contributing to the moody sound of early R.E.M. albums. Also contributing to this sound is the distant singing of Michael Stipe whose obscure lyrics, sung indistinctly, lend to the mystery and depth of the music. In a rare instance of R.E.M. co-writing, Stipe asked friend Neil Bogan to contribute lyrics to “West of the Fields”. Here are all of Murmur’s songs ranked.
Missed the vocals of R.E.M.? Click below and listen to their immortal songs.
12. Shaking Through
“I remember laying in the dark listening to “shaking through” on headphones and being near tears, why, I don’t know; the lyrics were almost indicipherable. but just the way they rolled off michael stipe’s tongue, with mike mills’ sweet harmony and the sympathetic underpinings of the band, gave me a feeling of completeness.”
“My favourite song on this album, although it is hard to say which is my real favorite, is “Catapult.” This song just has great singing in it by Michael and I like the chord changes. “Catapult” is for live performances. Pop song, and again with an alternative touch.”
10. Moral Kiosk
“Reagan may be in office, but let’s explore the unspoken, our hearts and loins so full of passion we must speak. “Not everyone can carry the weight of the world”. MORAL KIOSK: It wasn’t conservativism, but REM implied a morality. A spirit of community. “So much more attractive inside the moral kiosk”.
See more: R.E.M. Albums Ranked
“A gentle song about who knows what. Lighted, laughing at you, with you. “Laughing” appeal for many listenings because of the simple but great and fast acoustic guitar work.”
“9-9” is a very experimental Rock song. The guitar work in here is fantastic. One of the best tunes of the album. “9-9″ is very different sounding and just plain cool.”
Pilgrimage” has a great set of lyrics and standard musically. “Pilgrimage” is, problably, one of the best non-mainstream pop songs ever. The REM aesthetic was all about discovery, passion, mystery. If it’s good enough for Chaucer, it’s good enough for me.”
6. West of the Fields
“Album closes with a darker feel than at any previous point in the album. The most haunting & memorable bridge on the album. Don’t have any frigging idea what this song is about, but sounds like termites are in the foundation, the wells dried up, the truck has been repossessed, sissy ran off with a travelling salesman, and all that’s left is whatever the hell lies west of the fields.”
5. We Walk
“A lilting little ditty about walking, with friend, up the stairs & to the home, through the forest. “We Walk” is like a happy go lucky song, very uplifting. Mills bass work is very creative and just great to listen to on this album.”
See more: R.E.M Songs Ranked
4. Sitting Still
“Sitting Still” is a Pop song with great rhythm. Another contribute for a non-stop listening of the whole record. It’s the way Mike Mills, in almost every song, uses his guitar as counterpoint to the primary melody and, by doing so, creates an even more beautiful musical texture. Just listen to the fills he provides between Michael Stipe’s lines in “Sitting Still”. It’s not about showmanship, it’s about creating beautiful melodic music.”
3. Perfect Circle
“Perfect Circle” is the most comercial song of the album but maybe the best one. A calm and sad song with an excelent interpretation of Michael Stipe. Beautiful! “Perfect Circle” still might be their all-time best song.”
2. Radio Free Europe
“From the opening sounds of “Radio Free Europe”, the band comes with a unique mix of rock, folk, americana, and even some country, but it all blends just beautifully. You might even say the album comes with a unique sounds all of its own.”
1. Talk About the Passion
“Talk About The Passion” is one of the earlier classics for R.E.M. A perfect and genuine Pop song. “Talk about the passion” is another perfect song that for some reason, always makes me think of ex girlfreinds!!!”