Daily Song Study

R.E.M. – Superman

In songs on July 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I mentioned earlier the phenomenon of bands where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the case of R.E.M. Take away any member, and you don’t have the sound (evidenced by how erratic their output has been since drummer Bill Berry left).

This track, originally written and performed in 1969 by a band from Houston called The Clique, showcases R.E.M.’s many secret weapons, from Peter Buck’s alternately sparkling and punky guitar to the vocal interplay between bassist Mike Mills (lead on this track) and Michael Stipe, plus the aforementioned insistent thump of Bill Berry’s drums.

No other group of players would produce this sound, nor would any subtraction from those present. Uniqueness is a precious thing, and we are lucky to have the technology to keep moments in time alive for future ears.

  1. […] I’ve spoken before about how sometimes the definitive version of something isn’t necessarily its original take. This is a fine example. […]

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