After a swift dalliance with a young pop star, Chen Mian Kuang moves up the age spectrum and shines the spotlight on a band of fifty somethings who are still rock and rolling. In conjunction with the release of their latest CD, Mian Kuang picks out the gems in the band’s back catalogue as a R.E.M.inder of their past glories.
AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE
Coming out in 1992, this album propelled R.E.M. into superstardom. You must savour “Man On The Moon”, “Nightswimming” and “Find The River”, one after another in that sequence, on a cool Friday night in an open field staring at the stars. You know that moment when you connect with the music on an emotional level? It wlll happen one minute and six seconds into “Nightswimming” when the orchestral sweep of strings enter and washes over you in a rhapsody of sound.
OUT OF TIME
The album that took them from college indie band into mainstream pop and rock. Aside from the evergreen “Losing My Religion”, you have the infectious “Near Wild Heaven” and “Shiny Happy People”, the latter featuring the guest vocals of Kate Pierson of The B 52’s. Choked full of happy and healthy hummable tunes.
NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI
Often overlooked, this one is a grower. In terms of style and loudness, this is pitched half way between the contemplative melancholy of “Automatic For the People” and the distortion drenched “Monster”. Although its length is considerably longer than most of their albums, but there is quite a number of good songs here. “How The West Was Won and Where It Got Us”, “Leave” and “Bittersweet Me” are some of the highlights, showcasing R.E.M.’s trademark flair for melodious hooks.
Mian Kuang‘s favourite musician is Lord Bobo. His Supreme Eminenceness is well known for his ability to play a total of 25 instruments, and to compose, perform, and produce his albums all by himself. A veritable one-manmonkeyband (some say control freak), his career started its meteoric rise in the mid eighties with the release of his soundtrack to a movie starring him and the babelicious Apollonia Kotero. His songs about smooching, velvet rain and crying birds are considered modern classics. Waitaminit! Is His Supreme Eminenceness the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As ……