Paul Elie's "Everything That Rises" blog continues to make compelling connections between faith, art and life. His take earlier this week on an early REM song "Gardening at Night" is right on point. I was in high school when REM's EP "Chronic Town" was released. It was a time as a young teenager where I felt and yearned a whole lot more than I was capable of articulating. For me, and apparently others, REM's music in those early years practically defined the idea of transcendence.
Their sound was often likened to the Byrds, but--as big a fan of the Byrds as I am--I always felt that comparison missed the mark. REM was mysterious, melodic and incomprehensible. They were Southern Gothic and Obtuse Art Students all at once. And buried beneath all this beauty were the fundamental imperatives of great rock and roll: it transcended your brain, enveloped you and made you want to move. Radiohead's "OK Computer" and "The Bends" were the closest thing I've found to that vibe since.
Paul's meditation on the mystery of any creative pursuit is dead on...the greatest mystery for me regarding his thoughts however is simply that I'm just not sure how he was able to actually decipher (singer Michael) Stipe's lyrics!
See his entry here.