The year was 1988. George Bush I was about to become President of the United States, and the Reagan years were coming to a close. A little rock group from Athens, Georgia was about to release its first release on a mainstream label. The band was R.E.M., and the album they released in 1988 was Green.
It was a marked departure from their last album, Document, which felt overly bitter and cynical. Green was filled with a new hope and optimism, while keeping its eye square on the rearview mirror. The band stepped up and became U2-like in some facets, particularly via its environmental stance, and soon enough, R.E.M. became “that green band” to many new listeners.
After thinking about it for some hours (30 minutes), I realized that the mainstream music world needs another Green. Something that is more substantial than the majority of pop and rock that’s out there, but also not so filled with content as to depress the hell out of one. Somewhere in-between. Our situation is eerily similar to how it was in 1988, save for the possibility of impending war. We’re still clawing away at our environment, we’re still dominated by big companies, we’re still working towards a weird isolationist/non-isolationist duality.
Simply having one album out there that knows this, and talks about it, and gives hope certainly won’t change things overnight. But it’d give a lot more comfort to people than something our President says.
Thanks to Ryan for covering me when my car broke down, the dog ate my Ping, my bus was late, my train was late, my Segway malfunctioned, my computer went into 286-emulation mode, and my left foot turned purple.
Posted in Television, Movies, and Music