It’s 1989 – maybe 1990. Summer, a lazy breeze barely rattling the leaves and wet heat heavy under a broiling upstate New York afternoon sun. I’m wearing my Chucks – Chuck Taylors, the once and again coolest shoes of childhood and the grunge rock movement – all of us kids are. The radio is on.
The poppy chords of “Stand” are floating out of our boom box on the front lawn. We’re a bunch of budding nerds, so we are all aware at age 12 that this song is not quite serious, and yet not quite as fun as it sounds. There’s meaning in there, we are sure.
30 years later, that song still gives me something to think about, and not just that vivid sense memory from another summer day with the kids from the block.
Pop in REM’s 1991 album Out of Time and you have more or less my soundtrack of the 90s. “Shiny Happy People” setting a feel-good vibe, while “Losing My Religion” tended to the introspective, sad and questioning side of the coin.
What’s your most vivid REM memory? For some it will be from high school or college rock radio in the 90s, but for some I know this vivid memory may be forged this week!
Read Colin Meloy’s reflections on REM’s relevance here: Rolling Stone Top 100 Artists: REM