The year was 2003: in Toronto, Canada, high school senior Myles Stocker was awaiting his graduation from the high school and his entrance into a shiny new University world. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein protested that he wasn’t friends with Bin Laden even as he casually executed some Kurdish people. And in American, fabled Southern band R.E.M. would get on music television with a new song for the last time with “Bad Day”, a pretty damned good rip-off of their classic “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”, which itself was a great enough song that hearing it with different lyrics and an adjusted chorus is a-fucking-okay.
By this time in the career R.E.M. had long since given up on performing valuable B-sides, so imagine the surprise on high school Myles Stocker’s mind to find that all three of these extra tracks are fucking worthwhile! I don’t know what was up with that tense, so I’m just going to move on.
The first two are covers – “Favorite Writer” and the beautiful Mike Mills sung “Out In The Country” – and they’re both way catchy and great. And enjoyable, not just poppy – particularly the latter. It’s almost as if these guys have been playing together for awhile and have good taste in music!
Then there’s “Adagio” – an instrumental like so many other R.E.M. B-sides, but while this one, like most other, plays on one main musical motif, the motif here isn’t boring or stupid surf-rock. It’s a charming, sweeping classical track that’s catchy (! for a classical piece) and would make a great soundtrack for either the end of the world or a sunny morning. It’s lovely, and it gets the fuck out while it knows what’s good for it.
What else happened in 2003? Fucked if I know. It was a year of transition for ol’ Stock, and my life hadn’t really started – still clung to high school friends, high school girlfriend, and living mother. The world as I knew it was still a year away – and that’s okay! I’m glad I got all that time smoking pot in before it because a lame experience. And what was with eating meat even though I knew it was wrong? Strange days! Immature, poorly formed brain days. I think my “favorite writer” was still Leonard Cohen or Jack Kerouac, and I didn’t drink away my troubles after every “bad day,” and I visited my dad “out in the country” a few times. “Adagio.”
9 / 10