Art, God and REM

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.

Advertisement

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.

 

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The tête-à-tête between Paul Krugman and Nancy Pelosi in Manhattan was like a documentary about a once-popular rock band. (Rod Morata/Michael Priest Photography)
Speaking in a deep blue stronghold, the Democratic leader of the House calls for “civility” and cautiously hopes that she will again wield the speaker’s gavel in January.
Brandon SanchezOctober 16, 2018
The lecture provoked no hostile reaction from the students who heard it. But a media firestorm erupted.
John J. ConleyOctober 16, 2018
Though the current synod appears to lack the sort of drama and high-stakes debates of the previous two, the role of conscience appears to be a common thread.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 16, 2018
When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the Olympic podium, their act drew widespread criticism. Now Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike.
Michael McKinleyOctober 16, 2018