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Monday, June 27, 2011

Various - A Tribute To R.E.M. - Surprise Your Pig

Released : June 22, 1992
Genre : Alternative rock
Length : 62:05
Label : Staplegun
Producer : Mitch Easter, various others

R.E.M. has a catalog of great, distinct songs that would be hard to tackle without seeming second rate compared to the originals. That is why this compilation of covers is so interesting, because the bands twist and shape these songs into their own unique renditions that often only have a passing resemblance to the source. The album covers their entire career up to that point, which leaves off at 1991's classic Out of Time. Although some are basically feedback drenched versions of the originals, several tracks are vastly different. The most striking is Vic Chestnutt's take on "It's the End of the World as We Know It," an endless repetition of the first lyric of the song set to a hypnotic acoustic backdrop. Other interesting highlights include Just Say Now's hardcore remake of "Radio Free Europe" and Jawbox's depressing post-punk take of "Low." Many of the songs do not come near to the quality of the originals, but this is definitely a testament to the songwriting skills of Michael Stipe's crew. This would serve well as an introduction to R.E.M. for those who may be too cynical to listen to it on their own, but fans of the band may feel disappointed by how far these covers stray from the originals.

Tracks

1. Just Say No - Radio Free Europe
2. Band of Susans - 1,000,000
3. Gumball - Stumble
4. Steel Pole Bath Tub - We Walk
5. Samson & The Philistines - Talk About the Passion
6. Jawbreaker - Pretty Persuasion
7. J Church - (Don't Go Back To) Rockville
8. Phleg Camp - Feeling Gravity's Pull
9. The Mr. T Experience - Can't Get There From Here
10.Flor De Mal - Good Advices
11.The Punchline - Bandwagon
12.When People Were Shorter and Lived Near the Water - I Believe
13.Vic Chesnutt - It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
14.King Missile - Get Up
15.Tesco Vee's Hate Police - Losing My Religion
16.Jawbox - Low
17.Mitch Easter - Shiny Happy People


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