Scott & Scott:
First, thanks for the podcast. Until I heard Adam's R.E.M. reference in P&R, and looked him up, I thought I was the biggest appreciator (because fan is a terrible word). I now yield in deference. And I've really enjoyed this podcast. You've both got serious talent for this stuff.
Second, and much more importantly, I have a suggestion for a show (and I'm sorry for the windbaggy comment I'm about to type):
I would enjoy listening to an "ep" (after you go through the remaining R.E.M. albums, of course) where you both do your non-chronological top 20s with relatively thorough explanations of your choices.
"It's this little frilly thing here that really makes the song for me" and then you play a 10-second clip to justify your choice.
And the episode (sorry, ep) would end with each of you sequencing those choices into an album. That way, listeners can create the Adam and Aukerman albums.
But assuming you read this (low probability) and you decide to do it (also unlikely), can we (your listeners) request some guidelines? Like this:
1. No "listeners would think less of me if I admitted Shiny Happy People was on my list" censorships. Legitimate, unabashed favorites. Otherwise there's a risk of picking obscurity for obscurity's sake. "Fruity Organ is my #17" or whatever.
2. No covers. Yes, Crazy and Superman were both great. Draggin' the Line, Wall of Death, First We Take Manhattan, Redhead Walking... We all love those. But they aren't actually R.E.M. songs. If I read The Great Gatsby out loud, that doesn't make it a Courtney Jensen book. So... just real R.E.M. songs.
3. Pick a version of each song. Album, demo, some specific live version. That way, if I make the Aukerman album, it's not just paraphrasing.
4. How have your lists changed over time? What I mean: 20 years ago, my top 20 would have had Star 69, Maps and Legends, Pop Song 89, Finest Working, and Driver 8. Today, those tracks have been replaced by Green Grow the Rushes, Cuyahoga, Exhuming McCarthy, Wolves Lower, and Flowers of Guatemala. How have your favorites changed over time? And how have they haven't? For example (me as the example again), Good Advices, Welcome to the Occupation, Harborcoat, and Electrolyte have always been there. For you guys, what’s remained, what's been purged, and what's been added?
Okay, that's all. That's my request. I'll rely on the rest of your listeners to revise and improve it. But can I add a little commentary first? I’m going to. This:
I enjoy hearing the top 10 lists of your guests, but there's never any explanation around them; they're just great songs listed chronologically. Justification and an actual order (first in order of preference and then album sequence) would add a lot.
Especially for Radio Free Europe, as I'm sure it would appear on both of your lists and I've never understood it. I thought Murmur was unimprovable but for that song. And for some reason, it's everyone's favorite. So I would hope to hear a pretty compelling explanation.
Not every song would need explanation though. Fall On Me for example. That one feels so fundamental that it doesn't even need to be mentioned. You could just do your top 19 and we'd all understand.
Everyone loves Carnival of Sorts (as do I), but somehow that still feels like a "deep cut" (I hate that term). And so I think it still merits explanation.
Same with End of the World. It would be on my top 10, but I don't know why. When you dissect that song into its component parts (drums, instrumentation, words, etc.), none of those individual parts actually works. Somehow when you put it all together, a sort of weird musical alchemy happens and we all love it. So I think that song warrants explanation.
Find the River, Try Not to Breathe, Country Feedback, Nightswimming, I Believe... all obvious choices that would probably be on everyone's list, but somehow they still feel less obvious than Fall on Me.
And I do wonder about songs like Losing My Religion. It's the equivalent of Pearl Jam's Jeremy: objectively a good song, but killed by popularity. On the other side of that same spectrum, I appreciate Adam's appreciation for Ages of You. In a way it feels like the quintessential R.E.M. song because it's weird, jangly, and impossible to sing along with accurately ("matted ottoman is such"?). I realize lyrics can be Googled today, but a) that's not how we grew up with this one, and b) those lyrics are just other people's guesses.
Ages of You would probably have a home in my 20 (as would Me in Honey), but other than that, I think my choices are profoundly different from both Scotts.
For example, I think Lotus may be the best song the band ever wrote, definitely top 5. And you both (Scotts) hardly thought of it as worthy of its album. Similarly, Low Desert would probably make my list; I don't think it made the album when you re-sequenced Hi-Fi. And Parakeet would be on my extended edition (you know, the expensive version they release with added material), but it wasn't good enough for your re-sequenced Up. Conversely, High Speed Train is -- to me -- unlistenable. But it seemed to be a favorite on the show. Disappear as well. In 2001 I had a roommate who thought that was the best song on the album; I thought it was the worst.
Those differences would make your top 20s interesting (as long as they're explained). And worth creating the playlists.
Okay, that's all. Thanks for the show. I'll click around and find a spot to donate. Money is a better show of appreciation than words like "appreciation" will ever be.
Courtney (y-chromosome version)