Thursday, September 13, 2007
Autumn, What Took You So Long?
Fall has finally opted to make an appearance in Manhattan, a completely unscientific conclusion I draw in part from the chillier mornings--recalling elementary-school daybreaks I spent freezing at the bus stop, only for this eight-year-old fatass to wind up sweating to death outside during gym class three hours later--but mostly due to the single red leaf currently hanging over my backyard patio.
Of course, in addition to school, autumn immediately brings to mind R.E.M. For several years the guys from Athens released an album every fall like clockwork, providing the soundtracks to my sophomore, junior and senior years in college. This seasonal malady began innocently enough when I overheard a friend's copy of Life's Rich Pageant back in September 1986. From the opening chords of "Begin the Begin" I knew I had found the music with which I would inadvertently drive my remarkably forgiving roommate Drew--and frankly, anyone in earshot of our dorm room--batshit crazy for the remainder of the school year (actually, for several school years, until I practically brought next-door doorm-mate Dan Gezelter to tears from overplay). To this very day I still consider Life's Rich Pageant to be R.E.M.'s greatest work (with the possible exception of Murmur) and fondly recall seeing Michael Stipe accidentally fall off the stage at Cameron Stadium (and then dive off a few seconds later) during that album's tour (complete with Stipe yelling "Hello, South Carolina!" in North Carolina and opening band Let's Active, which was essentially Mitch Easter and whatever two women he was dating at the time). And to this very day I strongly feel that no introduction to this season would be complete without hearing the extraordinary Fall on Me.
So to help you ring in autumn the only proper way possible (at least according to this 40-year-old geezer), I give you the video to R.E.M.'s Fall on Me, complete with spelling error. See if you can spot it.