The band R.E.M. is easy to love—and hate. In the 1980s the group from Athens, Georgia, defined college and indie rock. It grafted locomotive Rickenbacker guitar and bass onto the no-nonsense beats of Bill Berry and the barely audible but alluring vocals of Michael Stipe.
New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, largely inhabited by poor African-American residents, looks not much different now from when the floodwaters receded. You have to wonder how Washington would have reacted if Katrina had hit a wealthy, white gated community.
The Pigeons Couldn't Sleep
The Best of Jonathan Rundman: 20 Songs from the 20th Century
Peter Himmelman, formerly the bushy-haired hero of the New Wave band Sussman Lawrence, has transitioned into a middle-aged rocker, and his music reveals only the best results. His songs have a muscular, energetic groove that begs comparisons with Bob Dylan—his father-in-law. The lyrics balance pungent humor and well-versed, poignant observations.
David Bowie called them his favorite iPod download. U2 used their song “Wake Up” as the walk-on anthem for their last tour. Coldplay and David Byrne are unabashed fans. Not bad for a band that just debuted its second album.
Saw two eagles swirling and dogging each other Over the river yesterday—courting or fighting— And not even the most veteran and experienced Observer could ever tell which it is they were at. There’s some deep crucial true thing to say here About loving and fighting, yes? You feel it too? But I am not quite sure what it is. All I can do is Point to the two eagles and say see what I mean? That’s what a poem is, it seems to me; a poem is A way to point at something we get but can’t say. So there are the eagles saying something graceful And painful and amazing. What is it? Exactly so.