Film Review: “Logan” (2017)

“Logan” stands out ahead of most comic book films as a real human story told through the unique perspective of a beloved comic book character

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Review of Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of the character that made him an international star

By Carter Bagley

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I’ve always loved superhero films and I grew up watching “Spider-Man” and “X2: United” and those were some of the earliest films I remember really loving and being obsessed about. The X-men franchise has been steadily releasing films throughout my entire childhood and I remember being extremely excited about each one. I will say that it hasn’t cuaiczwueaaid_w-jpg-large.jpgall been perfect and there’s been many lows (I’m looking at you “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) but there’s been some incredible films to come out this series. Films like “X2: United”, “X-Men: First Class” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” are truly great. If there was one thing that has always worked in the series however, was Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine. Unlike some comic book movies where the actors are clearly phoning it in for a paycheck, Jackman has always given his all to this amazing character and he’s been playing him for 17 years now. He’s getting older and him and director James Mangold decided to team up one last time to give a proper send off to this character. The movies have always been PG-13 and marketed towards kids and teenage audiences but this film is definitely not. If you know anything about the comic books you would know that the character of Wolverine is a complicated one. He’s aggressive, strong and reclusive but has an obvious vulnerability to him. He’s a character that has encountered so much pain in his life and he’s bottled it up and separated himself from everyone he cares about. Though there’s one thing about him, he can become very scary when he’s angry. This film is interesting in a way that Wolverine whose real name is Logan is old now. It takes place in the near future and mutants have pretty much gone extinct. Logan is taking care of his mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who is very old and sickly and is one of the only soft spots left inside Logan. He’s addicted to alcohol and isn’t healing properly like he used to and he wants to live out his days working as a limo driver and taking care of Charles. This changes however when a little girl named Laura comes to the attention of Charles and Logan. Charles who used to teach mutants wants to help this girl who he says is special and powerful but Logan being the old selfish man he is refuses. When an army of men come after her however they realize how powerful and important this young girl really is and Logan agrees to help her out. “Logan” is not like any other superhero film I’ve ever seen. In many ways it transcends the genre and becomes an indie film at parts or a western and that’s what makes it so brilliant. Hugh Jackman is amazing in the film and so is Patrick Stewart and you feel for these two characters more than you have in any other X-Men film yet. The R rating really works for this film because you get to see the pure animalistic side to Wolverine in a way we haven’t experienced yet. The action is incredible and bloody and brutal and Jackman takes it to the extreme in almost every scene. The little girl played by newcomer Dafne Keen is an interesting character as well and the little girl gives a very impressive performance. Boyd Holbrook also gives a great and intimidating performance as the main villain. “Logan” is exciting and perfectly directed by James Mangold and it’s filled with insane action, award-worthy performances and enough emotion to invest people who wouldn’t normally be interested in these kinds of films. This film marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new type of superhero film at the same time, and years from now I could easily see people look back on “Logan” as a very important and classic film in the genre.

Rating: 9.5/10

Album Review: The Shins “Heartworms” (2017)

“Heartworms” doesn’t stand up to their other albums lyrically but sonically it could easily be their finest

Review of The Shins’ long awaited new LP titled “Heartworms”

By Carter Bagley

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The Shins have always been one of my favorite bands growing up and I’ve never hidden from anyone that my favorite album of all time is their 2001 debut “Oh, Inverted World”. Singer songwriter James Mercer has this raw talent that I rarely see in other musicians. He is incredibly gifted with words and metaphors and this is why I’ve always had this personal connection to this band’s music. The rest of the band split after 2007’s “Wincing The shins-heartworms-3.jpgNight Away” and he pulled together a brand new team for 2012’s “Port Of Morrow” which was good but not great compared to The Shins’ first three albums. However, I appreciated how Mercer tried new types of music and tried to make a new sound and it worked on much of the album but not so much on other parts. This time around though it seems like he’s perfected these new styles and I’m glad to say that although this is different, it’s still The Shins I fell in love with. “Heartworms” begins with their second single “Name For You” which is a catchy, pretty pop song and a great start to a new album. It shows off Mercer’s vocal talents right off the bat draws you in instantly. The band released many of the song before the release date of the album and I thought all of those songs are great but it’s a few of the songs I hadn’t heard yet that hooked me. Songs like “Painting a Hole” and “Half A Million” recall back to “Wincing The Night Away” while simultaneously adding in some new flavor as well. The effects laden “Cherry Hearts” and “Fantasy Island” were the songs that really drew me in though. Mercer brings in all these new sounds that I haven’t heard from them before and he uses his voice as an instrument to pair with the music. It builds to a volume so high that it makes me wonder how he could possibly reach it. His voice and lyrics are so distinct that you know a The Shins song the moment the lyrics are sung. The third single “Mildenhall” brings in a folk sound that recalls back to their “Chutes Too Narrow” days. It manages to be perfectly nostalgic without being over the top and it may be a new classic from the band. Some of the songs didn’t quite hook me though like “Rubber Ballz”, “Heartworms” and “Half A Million” just didn’t work on every level like many of the other tracks. The lead single “Dead Alive” is fantastic classic sounding The Shins and I loved from the first time I heard it. “So Now What” is easily one of my favorite tracks from the album and I’ve loved it since it was first released way back in 2014 for Zach Braff’s film “Wish I Was Here”. The whole thing closes out with the longer track “The Fear” which uses interesting melodies that seems like they come straight out of the 90’s at points. The album is not lyrically as strong and much of the band’s discography but but seems to focus more on the sounds. Many songs build this huge wall of sound and it’s interesting to hear all of it surround you and listen as they start to fade out one by one at end of each song. James Mercer focused on many different types of music hear and incorporated all of it into this album and at some points in the same song even. I loved it more than I expected and I can honestly say that this album is not perfect but it’s pretty damn great.

Highlights: Name For You, Cherry Hearts, Fantasy Island, Mildenhall, Dead Alive, So Now What

Lowlights: Rubber Ballz, Half A Million, Heartworms

Rating: 8.5/10

The Top 25 Greatest Films Of 2016

2016 managed to be a rough year across the board but despite all that some great films were released. This is a countdown of the greatest films of the year.

Countdown of the Twenty-Five greatest films of 2016

By Carter Bagley

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Last night was the annual ceremony where Hollywood comes together and awards some of the greatest films of the past year. To celebrate the 89th Academy Awards I’ve put together my personal favorite films of the calendar year of 2016.

Movies That Almost Made It

“Indignation” – James Schamus, 2016

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“Zootopia” – Byron Howard & Rich Moore, 2016

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“War Dogs”- Todd Phillips, 2016

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“Sully” – Clint Eastwood, 2016

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“Sully” Review

Now Here It Is, The 25 Greatest Films Of 2016

25. “The Accountant” – Gavin O’Connor, 2016

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A film I didn’t expect to like as much as I did at all was “The Accountant”. It’s the perfect example of what an action movie should be and it gives me hope for the future of the genre. From start to finish it was emotional and exciting and I’m excited to see if this film could get a sequel.

“The Accountant” Review

24. “Star Trek Beyond” – Justin Lin, 2016

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The latest film in the “Star Trek” universe managed to be action-packed while having the same feel and tone as the classic TV series. Justin Lin did an outstanding job on his first film for the franchise and since I had a lot of fun with this one I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

23. “Green Room” – Jeremy Saulnier, 2016

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An amazingly suspenseful and brutal horror film that has one of the most original and terrifying plots in recent years. With a great performance by the late Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart portraying the scary and intimidating bar owner, “Green Room” manages to be intense and memorable.

22. “Snowden” – Oliver Stone, 2016

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This film was bound to be controversial from the moment it came into fruition but I think people overlooked the film way more than it deserved. “Snowden” was a very well made film with an excellent performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

“Snowden” Review

21. “Oasis: Supersonic” – Mat Whitecross, 2016

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An all inclusive documentary on one of my all-time favorite bands so I may be biased here but it’s definitely a powerful and well made documentary.

“Oasis: Supersonic” Review

20. “Doctor Strange” – Scott Derrickson, 2016

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Marvel continues to entertain mass audiences with their crazy visuals and great storytelling. “Doctor Strange” is different than the rest though and manages to stand completely on it’s own as an original and fun film.

“Doctor Strange” Review

19. “Lion” – Garth Davis, 2016

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Another film I saw very recently and I’m glad I caught it in time because it’s a beautiful, tragic and redeeming tale of family that will make anyone tear up just a little.

18. “Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins, 2016

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This film has received a lot of love and praise and took home the statue last night (after an unfortunate mixup) and despite being good I don’t think it’s the greatest film of the year by any means, but that doesn’t take away at all from it’s good qualities.

“Moonlight” Review

17. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” – Gareth Edwards, 2016

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Another year. Another “Star Wars”. This one, however, isn’t another sequel and instead tells an unconventional story that isn’t perfect but manages to be completely thrilling and entertaining.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” Review

16. “The Jungle Book” – Jon Favreau, 2016

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There’s no way in hell I expected to love this film as much as I did. This adaptation of the classic Disney film and novel may be the best one yet and it’s the perfect family movie for anyone to love.

15. “Hell Or High Water” – David Mackenzie, 2016

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An unexpected success story, “Hell Or High Water” is a thrilling and smart heist movie set in small town America and despite it’s small setting and simple premise what it has to say is by no means small.

14. “Don’t Think Twice” – Mike Birbiglia, 2016

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A relatable and simple film set in the world of improv comedy. It doesn’t have much to say but it says what it tries to in such a lovely and entertaining way that it will have a soft place in your heart after you watch it. The cast is fantastic and fun and “Don’t Think Twice” is simply just a fantastic film.

13. “Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson, 2016

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Mel Gibson’s comeback film that’s brutal yet inspiring and tells the true story of Desmond Doss, a man who’s courage and moral compass is so admirable that you can’t help but at least enjoy this film.

“Hacksaw Ridge” Review

12. “Hunt For The Wilderpeople” – Taika Waititi, 2016

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A film that I didn’t get a chance to see until recently but it was totally worth. It’s quirky and odd but completely deserves your attention.

11. “Everybody Wants Some!!” – Richard Linklater, 2o16

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Richard Linklater’s spiritual sequel to “Dazed and Confused” is just pure entertainment that’s funny, charming and filled with classic music that’ll take you back to a time that’s passed… even if you never lived it to begin with.

10. “Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve, 2016

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Denis Villeneuve is a masterful filmmaker who’s made great film after great film and “Arrival” is no exception. I just can’t wait until I get a chance to see his take on “Blade Runner”.

“Arrival” Review

9. “Midnight Special” – Jeff Nichols, 2016

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Directed by Jeff Nichols who is starting to become one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation after directing “Take Shelter” and “Mud” which are each brilliant in their own right but now he’s topped himself with a compelling modern sci-fi film that proves he’s poised for great things still.

8. “Swiss Army Man” – Daniel Kwan & Daniel Sheinert, 2016

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A movie that must be seen on it’s insane premise alone. It could’ve easily sold itself on shock value alone but instead it uses quirky comedy and the excellent performances by it’s two leads to craft an odd yet effortlessly charming story.

7. “Captain America: Civil War” – Joe & Anthony Russo, 2016

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Another film that’s gotten a lot of hate from the time of it’s release until now but after rewatching it, it still stands as a near perfect blockbuster and one of the greatest superhero films to date.

6. “Nocturnal Animals” – Tom Ford, 2016

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A movie that was a bit divisive in many ways but it’s incredibly clever and packed with powerful performances.

5. “Deadpool” – Tim Miller, 2016

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A near perfect action-comedy, Ryan Reynolds pushed this thing along for years and it turned out perfectly. If you haven’t seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and go see it as soon as possible.

4. “Manchester By The Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan, 2016

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One of the saddest but most powerful films I’ve seen in a long time. Casey Affleck really amazes here and completely deserves all the praise he’s receiving.

“Manchester By The Sea” review

3. “The Nice Guys” – Shane Black, 2o16

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Hilarious. Entertaining. Overlooked. This film needs more attention because it’s truly amazing and Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make an incredible duo. Go watch “The Nice Guys” if you haven’t already.

2. “Sing Street” – John Carney, 2016

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Horribly marketed by the Weinstein Company upon release and overlooked this is a lovely little film that sadly will be forgotten about. Though to the people who saw it, it left it’s mark and to me it’s simply one of the most personal films I’ve seen in years.

“Sing Street” Review

1. “La La Land” – Damien Chazelle, 2016

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This is one of those films that will get tons of hate for a little while and for some reason it’s kind of cool to hate it. This seems to happen to a couple movies every year but while others are released to praise and later get swallowed by the hate this one will be one to overcome it. “La La Land” is a beautiful and entertaining tale that will one day go down as a Hollywood classic. There’s simply no other film that belongs at this spot.

“La La Land” Review

 Film Review: “Manchester By The Sea” (2016)

“Manchester By The Sea” is a powerfully touching and human story with timeless themes with incredible talent on and off screen

Review of Casey Affleck’s Oscar caliber tour-de-force “Manchester By The Sea”

By Carter Bagley

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Casey Affleck has been a seemingly underrated talent for years now. Ever since he first broke on the scene in the shadow of his older and more famous brother, Ben, he’s been tragically overlooked for his sheer talent of conveying such deep emotion through his stare and expression alone. Now it seems this year he’s finally getting the universal Manchester_by_the_Sea.jpgrecognition he’s always deserved. The plot of this film is typical “oscar-bait” formula but the performances and the little hints of comedy lightly sprinkled through really make this one stand ahead of the pack. Kenneth Lonergan who has become a master at crafting powerful and emotional masterpieces directs the hell out of this film and knows exactly how he wants every single line and glance delivered and it’s because of this that the actors really thrive. Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler who is a depressed and distant handyman in Boston who must travel to his hometown of Manchester, Massachusetts after his older brother passes away. He must cope with the death and find out what it means for his teenage nephew while also battling horrifying memories he has with his hometown. The film really rests on the shoulders of the younger Affleck who proves himself capable of going toe-to-toe with any other actor of his generation. Throughout the film you see this deep and unexplainable sorrow in his eyes and it’s only in time that Lonergan brilliantly reveals the details to this harrowing story and Affleck’s performance really starts to make sense. I will say that if this isn’t an oscar-winning performance than I don’t know what it is. Newcomer Lucas Hedges plays the teenage son of Lee’s deceased brother and he also delivers an impressive and magnetic performance that shows a boy struggling with loss in an honest and subtle fashion. Michelle Williams is up for an oscar also as she plays Lee’s ex-wife who painfully stirs up old memories for Lee who desperately tries to cope with mistakes he made in the past. This film deserves all the recognition it’s being given and any other year might be sweeping the awards floor with it’s strong emotion and powerful themes. Normally I would not expect to be effected emotionally by a film as much as I was after I saw it and the credit is owed to every single aspect of talent that went into this modern emotional masterpiece. “Manchester By The Sea” is a devastating and extremely powerful human story that is guaranteed to move anybody who goes in and gets invested in the film and the many touching performances throughout this tragic drama. It may not have the style and quirkiness of “La La Land” or the social and topical themes of “Moonlight” but it makes up for in it in sheer classic quality and a dramatic timelessness that will never become outdated.

Rating: 10/10

Film Review: “Moonlight” (2016)

Moonlight is a very realistic and modern coming-of-age story, though one we don’t see much in Hollywood

Review of one of the year’s biggest indie films about the hardships of growing up

By Carter Bagley

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This film really seemed to pop out of nowhere. I had no idea what is was until all the sudden I heard a lot of buzz surrounding it in the past month or two about how it’s some peoples favorite movie of the year and that it’s the “best indie film of the year”. So I went in not knowing anything about the plot whatsoever and although the subject matter surprised me, I found the brilliant artistic approach taken by writer/director Barry Jenkins to be the greatest aspect of this film. He tells the story of a boy named Chiron who’s Moonlight_(2016_film).pnggrowing up in a very poor neighborhood and constantly being bullied by his peers along with having a drug addicted mom. It follows Chiron through three defining chapters of his life from when he was a young boy to when he was an older teenager to when he’s an adult. Each chapter seems to show him struggling with something personally and having a slight realization. The admirable thing I could say about this film could be someone else’s biggest flaw and to me that’s the genuine feeling to it for it comes across as very realistic and subtle. There’s no big climax or that huge scene that everyone’s going to remember, instead the film makes you feel like you know this kid or have known someone like him. Every character feels very authentic and fleshed out and you can tell they have their own purpose and struggle and aren’t just there to serve the main character. All three actors that portray Chiron at the three stages of his life all give amazing performances especially the kids but the standout of all three was definitely Ashton Sanders who even did a better job than Trevante Rhodes who plays the grown up Chiron. However possibly the film’s most interesting character, Juan, played exceptionally by Mahershala Ali could’ve been fleshed out a little more and I would’ve liked to see more of his character. The main problem I have with this film is that it didn’t impact me the way I wanted it to, every time I really started to feel for Chiron and the characters around him it cut away from it. It could’ve been paced a little better and I just feel like the ending didn’t give you the ending the punch that the story deserved and I walked away feeling like I didn’t learn anything. Nonetheless the story I did get to see was human and realistic and the performances were all fantastic. It’s definitely not my favorite film of the year unlike some people, but it’s a modern tragedy in a sense and worth seeing if you truly enjoy films but I wouldn’t recommend it for the average moviegoer. Still I see a very bright future for writer/director Barry Jenkins and many of the young actors featured in it.

Rating: 7/10

Classic Reviews: Oasis “Definitely Maybe” (1994)

“Definitely Maybe” is an excellent debut album that’s cocky, epic, inspiring and completely rock ‘n’ roll.

Review of the debut classic album from seminal Britpop band Oasis

By Carter Bagley

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Coming from Manchester, these lads were always meant to be a massive rock band. Everything about them from their look, their sound, their relationships, and most importantly the sibling rivalry between lead singer Liam Gallagher and guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher screamed rock band. In 1994, right from the gates they exploded onto the britpop scene with a massive, loud, and straight-up amazing debut album. “Definitely Maybe” came out four years after the band had officially formed so it sounded like an experienced band who already knew exactly what they were doing. Noel and Liam Gallagher weren’t even the founders of the band originally titled Rain, but after joining it was obvious these two were the superstars of the group despite the others 61-8ceflawlcontributing their own big talents to the music. It was always these brothers who transcended it. After the dying grunge scene left listeners depressed and wanting inspiration Noel penned 11 songs that totally redefined 90’s music after the state it was in. It kicks off with the gorgeously cocky “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” that’s in the same vein as The Stone Roses’ “I Am The Resurrection” in the sense that these nobodies were declaring that they were rock ‘n’ roll stars. The funny thing is they didn’t have a whole album before it to prove it, it was the first track . Although with Liam’s completely unique vocals and Noel’s kickass guitar riffs in addition to Tony McCarroll’s drumming, this song is all the proof they needed. The song “Shakermaker” was the album’s second single with I really don’t understand because despite it being a good song it’s still unnecessarily long and drags on quite a bit. However, it’s not until “Live Forever” begins that you see this band truly blossom into the brilliant band they were. Every single aspect of the song is amazing beginning with the instantly noticeable drumming, the beautiful acoustic, the simple piano keys, the rocking electric and bass and Liam’s revolutionary snarl on the opening lines “Maybe, I don’t really wanna know”. Liam Gallagher’s voice really was one in a million and although you could hear it slowly get worse over time, there’s no taking away the fact that back in the mid-90’s he had the best voice on the planet. There’s always songs you skip like “Up In The Sky” and “Bring It On Down” and “Columbia” is good just a couple minutes too long. Though none of that takes away from the album because as a whole even those song work into it’s brilliance. The latter half of the album is where it gets spectacularly consistent. The band’s debut single “Supersonic” has nonsensical lyrics but an attitude that only the Rolling Stones could rival and Liam’s voice shines on it to make it a nearly perfect and likable single. “Cigarettes & Alcohol” is a rocker with some epic lead guitar riffs and lyrics that perfectly show the mood of their home city of Manchester at the time. The album concludes with the epic rocker “Slide Away” coupled with the acoustic song of “Married With Children”. The former is one of those songs that should’ve been a single over “Shakermaker”. Liam’s vocals are some of the best on the album and the chorus drills into your head and let’s not mention the kick-ass guitar solos. “Married With Children” shows a sassier side to the band and it gives off a slight reflective tone; it’s a great simple end to a great epic album. There’s not much that hasn’t already been said about this album, but I will add that Oasis is extremely underrated for the fact that many people slack them off these days, but they embody rock ‘n’ roll just as much as any band and they actually stood for something. Liam Gallagher might have been the best leading man we’ve seen in decades and Noel always was a very talented songwriter. Though they may be broken up these days, back in 1994 Noel & Liam Gallagher said that they were gonna live forever, and live forever they will.

Highlights: Rock ‘N’ Roll Star, Live Forever, Supersonic, Cigarettes & Alcohol, Slide Away, Married With Children

Lowlights Lesser Highlights: Up In The Sky, Bring It On Down

Rating: 10/10

Top 25 R.E.M. Songs

Out of the band’s enormous discography these are the 25 songs that hit the hardest.

A countdown of the Twenty-Five best songs by pioneering alternative rock band R.E.M.

By Carter Bagley

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I figured to conclude any artist series I should make a list of what I think are that artist’s best songs. So after rummaging through R.E.M. fifteen studio albums and numerous singles and compilations I crafted this list of R.E.M.’s twenty-five best songs.

25. “7 Chinese Brothers” (Reckoning, 1984)

One of the many oddly titled but undeniably charming R.E.M. songs and one that completely defines the sound of R.E.M.’s classic sophomore effort “Reckoning”. It may not be a defining song for the band but it’s definitely a fantastic one.

24. “At My Most Beautiful” (Up, 1998)

A truly beautiful ballad from the band that pairs beautifully with other songs of theirs like “Nightswimming” but this one is tragically unrecognized. It’s really an amazing song and is the best song off their 1998 album “Up”.

23. “Bittersweet Me” (New Adventures In Hi-Fi, 1996)

Probably the most famous song from R.E.M.’s underrated 1996 sprawling double LP “New Adventures in Hi-Fi”. With a rocking chorus, slow breathy verses, and gritty lyrics this song is definitely good enough to be on this list.

22. “Driver 8” (Fables Of The Reconstruction, 1985)

“Fables Of The Reconstruction” is no doubt the most forgotten out of R.E.M.’s 80’s catalog, but the record has some truly great songs on it including this short yet deep and poignant track that’s catchy and memorable and defines this era of R.E.M. perfectly.

21. “Superman” (Life’s Rich Pageant, 1986)

Just a year after “Fables..” came “Life’s Rich Pageant” which is a stark contrast probably because “Fables” didn’t perform as well as they wanted. “Superman” one of the singles and closer of the album sounds like 60’s rock and that marks a new sound for the band and one that makes for a near perfect pop song.

20. “Supernatural Superserious” (Accelerate, 2008)

A late R.E.M. track that’s just as good if not better than many of their earlier songs. Off of 2008’s “Accelerate”, this single doesn’t sound at all like an aging band (which they definitely were) but instead like a young energetic band that still had a lot to say.

19. “Shaking Through” (Murmur, 1983)

A forgotten and unrecognized song of their debut album is one of my favorites because of it’s airtight instrumentation and Stipe’s on point vocals. It’s truly a great R.E.M. song and one that has gone and will continue to go severely underrated.

18. “Gardening At Night” (Chronic Town EP, 1982)

One of the band’s earliest songs yet still loved amongst fans and one of their most critically beloved. This is a very bizarre track with nonsense lyrics and jangly guitar that totally encapsulates the sound of early-80’s R.E.M.

17. “Orange Crush” (Green, 1988)

One of their first big singles that has gone on to become an alternative rock classic this is on their first studio album and might be one of their last early era sounding songs they ever recorded. Nonetheless it’s extremely catchy and incredibly charming.

16. “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” (Monster, 1994)

A true rocker that opens up R.E.M.’s 1994 “big dumb rock album” titled “Monster” and this is undoubtedly the highlight of that record. It was a new sound for R.E.M. and one they never really quite had again and as a single it’s definitely a standout of their 90’s catalog.

15. “New Test Leper” (New Adventures In Hi-Fi, 1996)

Not even released as a single, this is one of those deep cuts that only real R.E.M. fans will recognize. In my opinion it’s one of the best they ever wrote as the lyrics are deeply poetic and Michael Stipe’s vocals are beautiful. This is a song that you will fall in love with and if there’s only one reason to check out “New Adventures…” then this is it.

14. “Find The River” (Automatic For The People, 1992)

The closer to quite possibly the band’s finest album that really doesn’t sound like them at all. “Find The River” sounds a little like John Denver with an alternative twist to it and the R.E.M. penned lyrics are beautiful and much better than the stuff Denver writes. It’s pure and lovely and something you need to check out.

13. “These Days” (Life’s Rich Pageant, 1986)

A short and fast 80’s rocker from another standout R.E.M. record in “Life’s Rich Pageant”. It’s catchy and fun and a song that makes “Life’s Rich Pageant” the damn near perfect album that it is. The oddball lyrics but strong delivery is pure 80’s R.E.M. and it’s brilliant.

12. “Country Feedback” (Out of Time, 1991)

One of the many highlights of R.E.M.’s best-selling seminal album “Out Of Time”. Maybe not the most consistent album they’ve made but one that’s full of poetic and beautiful songs like this that make it understandable that the record got the classic status it has.

11. “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” (Reckoning, 1984)

A song that sounds completely different than the rest of the album it’s at the tail-end of, yet it’s still undoubtedly a standout on “Reckoning”, their 80’s catalog, and their entire discography altogether. Having a very southern country rock sound but with the charm of typical R.E.M. and using jangle-pop vibes that make it an R.E.M. staple.

10. “The One I Love” (Document, 1987)

A fantastic hit single that can and has been interpreted in many different ways. Most people see it as a simple love song but it’s nearly the exact opposite and is layered which you can tell when Stipe wails “Fire!” after the chorus. This is one of the songs that grew the band’s fame and secured them a record deal for their next album, and it’s easy to see why.

9. “World Leader Pretend” (Green, 1988)

Hands down the best song off their divisive first studio album “Green”. Despite the album being divisive this song always seems to be given the accolades it truly deserves. Stipe moodily delivers fantastic lyrics that touched on new ground for the band. If you haven’t heard this song, do yourself a massive favor and go give “World Leader Pretend” a few spins.

8. “So. Central Rain” (Reckoning, 1984)

A song that completely encapsulates the perfect sound featured on their sophomore classic “Reckoning”. The lyrics are beautiful, the instrumentation is catchy, and Michael Stipe’s vocal performance is perfect and all that adds up to an amazing early alternative rock song complete with jangly guitars and moody vocals.

7. “Fall On Me” (Life’s Rich Pageant, 1986)

Probably the band’s first recognizable success came with this single as the video got decent airplay on MTV and it blew up college rock stations everywhere. One of the catchiest songs they ever recorded, “Fall On Me”  highlights one of R.E.M.’s best albums and defines the term college rock.

6. “Nightswimming” (Automatic For The People, 1992)

A truly beautiful ballad accompanied with lovely piano and vocals that make you feel more than you’d like to admit. The all-too-real lyrics and the pure and genuine tone it naturally has cemented “Nightswimming” as a memorable heartwarming song that only gets better the more you hear it. Really go check this beautiful song out as soon as possible.

5. “Radio Free Europe” (Murmur, 1983)

One of the earliest singles the band ever made that still makes you single along to the nonsensical lyrics even after you’ve heard it thousands of times. “Radio Free Europe” is insanely likable and completely defines the sound of the band’s debut album “Murmur”.

4. “Man On The Moon” (Automatic For The People, 1992)

One of the strangest singles from the band, but the song tackles a lot of topics in one song and it seems to do it beautifully. It’s one of those songs with that amazing chorus that just gets drilled into your head the first time you hear it. The performance and the catchiness of this song is what makes it so good especially the chorus which is what makes it such a powerful lovable song.

3. “Talk About The Passion” (Murmur, 1983)

One of the band’s earliest poetic songs and one that features a more laid back sound opposed to most of “Murmur”. This song doesn’t seem to be talked about at all unless by real R.E.M. fans and those are the people who really cherish it. Some beautiful lines mixed with the rawness of the band’s early sound is what solidifies my love for this album.

2. “Losing My Religion” (Out of Time, 1991)

The band’s smash single that broke them into mainstream success still holds up amazingly 25 years after it’s initial release. Now it’s become a rock classic and has retained a status on the same level as other hits of the era. With thought provoking lyrics, angry and raw vocals and layered instrumentation accompanied by one of my favorite music videos of all time, it makes sense why this is the song that brought them universal acclaim. It’s truly legendary.

1. “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (Document, 1987)

There’s an endless amount that could be said about this song and what it means. It’s honestly one of the best pop songs to ever be recorded in my opinion and every single aspect including the fast, rambling verses, perfect backing vocals, catchy jangly guitars and hard-hitting drums along with the political yet smile-inducing lyrics that can only put you in a great mood. All of it leads into one of the best choruses ever put to tape and I truly mean that. Out of the enormous discography from this acclaimed pioneering rock band, this song remains their greatest achievement and has only grown in popularity since it’s release. It’s proved itself addictive and timeless and even if the end of the world as we know it comes, this song will keep us feeling fine.