Murmur is the debut studio album by American alternative rock band R.E.M., released on April 12, 1983, by I.R.S. Records. Murmur drew critical acclaim upon its release for its unusual sound, defined by lead singer Michael Stipe's cryptic lyrics, guitarist Peter Buck's jangly guitar style, and bass guitarist Mike Mills' melodic basslines.Wikipedia
Depending on who you ask, this is REM’s best album. A debut that contends with some of the best debuts ever. I really enjoy this album. Hooky basslines, jangly guitars and weird lyrics that burst into catchy sing a long choruses. This album laid the groundwork for what was to come later in the 80s underground music scene and how big REM was about to become with albums like Document and Automatic for the People. Favorite song: Radio Free Europe Least favorite song: Shaking Through
Highlights: Laughing, Talk About The Passion, Striking Through Before they were shiny and happy and lost their religion, before everybody hurt, before they crushed with eyeliner...it was Murmur. The breakout album by R.E.M. that reignited America's love with sweeping guitar rock that was increasingly becoming punky- metal- glammy- and loud. R.E.M. would have fallen victim to the loudness wars if not for their just getting everything right, paving the way for acts like Live and Radiohead.
REM are the godfathers of indie rock. They were the epicenter of what was then called college rock, which would then mutate into alternative, and finally become indie rock as we know it today. I feel like people take them for granted now, partially because their sound was pretty much completely absorbed by others in their time, and partially because they don't have a particularly aggressive sound - something that I actually appreciate them for. I get tired of rock and roll having to be cranked to 11 all the time. This is easily one of the most important and unique debut albums of the 80s. The jangly guitars, melodic basslines, and toe tapping beats are certainly nice, but I think the real secret sauce is in Michael Stipe's poetic lyrics and seemingly casual but subtly emotive vocal delivery.
Still my favorite REM album, though Reckoning comes damn close. This albums ringing guitars, impossibly tight rhythm section, beautiful backing vocals, soaring melodies and just general youthful exuberance cement this as their best album. REM are a great band and became more mature and polished but they never again matched their early period for pure excitement. Wow! 5 🌟
R.E.M indeed. This is a snore fest.
warm guitars, sometimes naive sometimes deeply melancholic. feels like walking with band t-shirts, my headphones connected to my walk-man under a sunny campus, green paves the way.
One of the best debut albums of all time and it’s probably not even their best album. Great melodies, great harmonies, great guitar, GREAT bass, great drums. Just all around great. R.E.M. are The Beatles of indie/alternative rock.
For whatever reason, I’ve never kicked the tires on Murmur. Monster would be my go-to and I like Green is fair enough, too. This is pretty great, especially as a debut. Didn’t realize they had their shit together like this from the get-go. Dialed back a bit sonically, but that’s to be expected; what’s unexpected though is how tight the songwriting is. Stipe sounds great as usual and Buck’s playing is understated but still carries great weight. I don’t think this’ll change anyone’s mind about REM, but this is an awesome change of pace record for me personally as a semi-fan. Very cool. 3.5
I love this record. Moral Kiosk is one of my favorite REM songs.
Top-notch record, recorded by nobodies in a nowhere town that shot them into the spotlight (beating out Thriller!!). The only issue I have is the sometimes too-clean composition that reflects a band piecing together in a studio rather than REM's legendary stage presence and ensemble. The key to the band in my opinion is there meticulous knowledge and reverence of the history of rock music. The Byrds, Patti Smith, Television, Wire, Neil Young, and local acts like Pylon and B-52s are all here, though in a fresh way that uses nods rather than outright plagarism. Moral Kiosk, Laughing, Radio Free, it's clear these young men from Athens had something that no one else did.
I would listen to this album all day, every day and never get tired of it. A top three R.E.M. album, flawless from top to bottom.
Personally, Murmur was one of those life-changing records that shifted the direction of my music tastes. R.E.M.'s sound was refreshing and much needed. Around this time I discovered other like-minded bands, the Replacements, Husker Du, Violent Femmes, etc. ,bands outside mainstream radio (college rock) and this music was the reason the 80's actually had some great music. I'll always have a special place for the first four R.E.M. records (especially the first two) in my collection and all of them are essential listens!
Can see how its influential Alt Indie rock but it took me a couple of listens to start to get it. A real grower that I get more out of the more i play it. Given its release date this must have been one of the first crossover records from the Alt-Rock scene which exploded in the early 90s. 4/5
I liked it, a less obvious recommendation than expected
Surprised R.E.M. has more than one on the list and this not being my second choice I may be very surprised they have 3 on here
This debut album is pleasant enough. Good early indie music with a nice vibe that foreshadows even better things to come from this band. However it gets repetitive very soon.
-major keys -jangly clean guitars -the same fast, aggressive drumming on almost every song This is feel good music. It's definitely not a chore to listen to. However, listening to this album further cemented my opinion that REM is a band that does one thing well and that thing is not particularly memorable or original. My favorite track was 9-9.
Interesting to hear an early REM album from the eighties. The music was okay, but did not blow me away either.
Couldn't get into this one. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood but it just seemed so instantly forgettable
I know some later R.E.M. (Losing My Religion) but found this pretty boring. The songs blurred together a bit, and I got the impression of a less dynamic Tragically Hip.
I don’t think I understand this band
A little prom bandy
So I genuinely have very little to say about this. I kinda sorta liked some of the songs, but not much at all. The songs sounded the same to me and I was very bored. It was kind of a chore to get through this album if I’m being completely honest. Perfect Circle might be one of the most boring songs I’ve ever heard. Maybe I’m just tired, but these songs are seriously unbearably boring to me. The cover art is kind of intriguing. I think my neighbors have started to smoke. I keep smelling weed really strongly whenever I go out at night or open my window. This project has introduced me to a few songs I really like like Bigmouth Strikes Again by The Smiths, but now I’m just starting to realize that music critics and snobs hate to have fun and only like boring music. I’m so bored with listening to this album that I’m talking about other groups and personal matters in the notes. I’m only like 10 albums in though, so hopefully they will get better.
I didn't know that post-punk became alternative rock but now I do.
определенно, R.E.M. - моя самая не любимая альтернативная группа. но я же сужу не по субъективным качествам. если бы меня попросили описать "Murmur" одним словом, я бы без заминки сказал "вдохновляющий". даже сейчас, слушая условных Arcade Fire, мой мозг автоматически проводил аналогии с песнями этого альбома. "Murmur" не блещет ревущими гитарами и надрывающимся от тягости исполнения вокала, что весьма интересно для альт-рока своих лет, но не это главное. основная особенность работы - это ее резкие переходы. на альбоме очень часто можно заметить полное отсутствие бриджа при переходе из куплета в припев, что совершенно взрывает мою голову, что, возможно, хорошо. подводя итог, как бы я не хотел убрать одну звезду за простоту вокала или постоянно торопящиеся структуры песен, этот альбом - бриллиант, из которого сложился современный альт-рок, который сам по себе звучит не менее актуально. будь он выпущен сейчас, произвел бы не меньший фурор.
Not my first time hearing this - I love this album. They really started off with a bang - so catchy, yet infused with that unique sound that is unlike any other music out there. 5 stars.
They knew what they needed to sound like.
Great album! Very nice rhythms. Good for vibing
Groundbreaking - on many lists of greatest albums of all time for good reason
Mi primer disco de R.E.M.
worth to relisten
Excellent album. A delight to be reacquainted with it.
I listened to this album so much in the 90s that it was hard for me to fathom that it came out when I was 10 years old. "Laughing" is one of my all-time faves, and the rest of it is quite good as well.
One of those few perfect albuns.
Radio Free Europe remains one of my absolute fave R.E.M. songs, and the rest of the album is equally fantastic.
A true classic. Not a bad song on here as far as I'm concerned. And what an influential album. An anchor to the college radio music wave.
Outstanding first album!
I enjoyed it.
Perfect R.E.M album, as I guess everyone knows..
One of the most important and significant Alt Rock records of all time
This is nostalgia in an album! I love everything about it- Stipe’s voice, his lyrics and the sound. Radio Free Europe is a brilliant tune.
Hard to believe this album came out in 1983, sounds so much ahead of its time. Can see the influence it had on alternative rock bands.
I am very familiar with R.E.M and their debut album MURMUR. I have the album and I’m a casual fan. I like the album a lot. After listening to MURMUR, this album is still a great album to listen to. In 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, with R.E.M - MURMUR, the subsequent albums are also listed: DOCUMENT (1987); GREEN (1988); AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE (1992) Rate Artist: R.E.M (5.0) Rate Album (Year): MURMUR (US 1983 Original) (5.0) Rate Album (Year): MURMUR (US 2008 Deluxe) (5.0) Ranking of R.E.M - MURMUR songs No. Title Length Ranking 1-01. "Radio Free Europe" 4:06 10.0/10 1-02. "Pilgrimage" 4:30 10.0/10 1-03. "Laughing" 3:57 09.0/10 1-04. "Talk About the Passion" 3:23 10.0/10 1-05, "Moral Kiosk" 3:31 07.0/10 1-06. "Perfect Circle" 3:29 08.0/10 1-07. "Catapult" 3:55 10.0/10 1-08. "Sitting Still" 3:17 10.0/10 1-09. "9–9" 3:03 09.0/10 1-10. "Shaking Through" 4:30 10.0/10 1-11. "We Walk" 3:02 09.0/10 1-12. "West of the Fields" 3:17 10.0/10 US 1983 Original Release 112.0/120 = 9.33 / 2 = 4.67 2008 Deluxe Edition bonus disc (Live at Larry's Hideaway in Toronto, July 9, 1983) 2-13. "Laughing" 3:51 10.0/10 2-14. "Pilgrimage" 4:08 10.0/10 2-15. "There She Goes Again" 2:43 07.0/10 2-16. "Seven Chinese Brothers" 4:15 08.0/10 2-17. "Talk About the Passion" 3:02 10.0/10 2-18. "Sitting Still" 4:11 10.0/10 2-19. "Harborcoat" 3:45 10.0/10 2-20. "Catapult" 3:51 10.0/10 2-21. "Gardening at Night" 3:33 10.0/10 2-22. "9-9" 3:16 09.0/10 2-23. "Just a Touch" 2:27 06.0/10 2-24. "West of the Fields" 3:06 10.0/10 2-25. "Radio Free Europe" 4:57 10.0/10 2-26. "We Walk" 2:55 07.0/10 2-27. "1,000,000" 3:05 08.0/10 2-28. "Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)" 3:58 08.0/10 US 2008 Deluxe Release 255.0/280 = 9.11 / 2 = 4.55
It is still an incredible listen after all these years!
Three in a row. Looking for a timeless sound and they found it. Crisp and focused.
One of the best debuts of all time, REM came out of the gates loaded and ready to make incredible rock. It’s interesting to come back to this after decades of refining and expanding the indie scene, but the melodies are timeless and the production is charmingly limited. Radio Free Europe’s single version is better, though. A
Yes, very good album.
I was pleasantly surprised by this record. I enjoy R.E.M., but some of their songs have missed me, depending on the situation. This record, though, carried a specific tone all the way through, and I couldn’t help myself from enjoying it. Definitely a buy, Leonard likes this post
Already very familiar with this one.
I haven’t listened to this staple from my college years in… years. I feel like I’ve just discovered R.E.M. all over again! I’m stunned to see that this came out in 1983. I tend to think of R.E.M. as a 90s band. It’s startling to think of just how on the vanguard R.E.M. was in the early 80s. Listening to this now I hear the massive influence R.E.M. would have on rock for the next decade or two. Really incredible debut album that is so wonderful to have back in my life after far too long a hiatus.
One of the strongest debut albums I've ever heard, and one of the most influential albums ever made. I don't know if I can really express how special this album was when it came out. Nobody really sounded like this at the time, but countless bands did sound like R.E.M. when all was said and done. It was fresh and exhilarating to hear at the time and that feeling comes back one thousand fold for me listening to it again today. Murmur is a perfect album and remains one of R.E.M.'s best even after a career full of brilliant work. R.E.M. have a musical palette that's really enjoyable to listen to, with swirling melodies and gorgeous jangling guitars. Musically, there may never have been a band more subtly expressive and in sync with each other then Berry-Buck-Mills. On top of that you have Michael Stipe's engaging, bittersweet vocals. I know some people don't dig the lyrics, but you have to get that they were deliberately cryptic and strange, and that was very much part of the band's appeal. R.E.M. weren't trying to be a mainstream band, but the music was so good, they were a success in spite of it. This is really a perfect album, with not a bad song to be found. Hard to pick a favorite. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Talk About the Passion, Radio Free Europe, Sitting Still, Moral Kiosk, Catapult, Shaking Through, Laughing, Perfect Circle, We Walk, West of the Fields, 9–9, Pilgrimage
I got to hear this originally the week it released in Athens, GA as the first EP
REM’s debut album raises the question, are they a jangle pop band, a post punk band, or an alternative rock band. The answer is yes. REM deftly explore and blur genre later becoming the forefront of the alternative music scene as it was gaining popularity. Their influence is profound and this, their debut album, shows that they arrived on the scene with a unique and fully formed sound. The influences here range from the Beatles to the Smiths and are woven into something melodic and unique.
Stonking debut album. One of the best. *****
Easily one of the greatest debut albums of all time.
I got pretty into this band when I was in college, saw them in concert first in '83 when they opened for The Police but that was a crazy huge crowd (70k+) at Shea Stadium and I could barely hear R.E.M.'s relatively brief set, then saw them again in '86 in support of the Lifes Rich Pageant album, and that was a better and smaller venue, so I could actually hear and see them. [Side Note: a band I'd later come to love through to this day, The Feelies, opened for them that night but I either showed up late or ignored them because I had no clue about them and hadn't learned that paying attention to opening bands can be a GREAT experience because I was 19 years old and an idiot -- a lovable idiot, I think, but an idiot nonetheless] Anyway, back to this album: I owned it and loved it. Still do. These are fantastic songs. Along with their debut EP, Chronic Town, the first few releases by the band are among my favorites of theirs. They put out some great albums for years to come, and I love how they evolved over the decades. I hadn't given this a focused listen in quite some time. It still holds up for me after all these years. I think Mike Mills is one of the coolest musicians and people, and Peter Buck is a severely underrated guitarist. He doesn't get mentioned a lot because ripping big solos just isn't his thing -- he's a refreshingly non-egotistical rock guitarist -- but in my own personal worldview, art that stands out for me in any medium is art that when I experience it, I recognize it as the artist's work without being told who it is. Peter Buck's guitar work has always been that way for me. That's rare and impressive.
Much more country than I remembered.
This record takes me back to my early days of "new music" discovery. I was close to wearing out the grooves on my copy of the Chronic Town EP by the time Murmur dropped.
Always a good idea.
I very much enjoyed this album, it was engaging throughout, and would definitely listen again
A perfect sort of album, the kind you couldn't distinguish as belonging to a particular decade but as soon as it's heard, you know it's timeless. REM on this album truly prove they have the hooks and phrases of any great songwriting group, straight from the get-go.
Well, we didn’t really know what we were in for, did we? And it still sounds fresh 40 years on. The enthusiasm and commitment and near-perfect integration of the playing make the record. The inscrutable lyrics only add to the charm. There are many winners, but the whole sounds of a piece, consistent in tone and mood, and executed with an attractive balance of precision and swing. “Radio Free Europe” still sounds like a call to arms, a new way to view the world through music or to do music. “Laughing” is criminally underrated and “Perfect Circle” just gorgeous, as elegant a song as REM (or anyone) would ever do. “Shaking Through” is pure delight. “Sitting Still” is an absolute gem, a personal all-time fave the inspirational ending of which (“I can hear you/Can you hear me?” with the hopeful bell-like up-chiming last note) can still bring one near to tears. One can’t be objective about this record as it has meant so much, having (almost literally) grown up (in Georgia) with this band – with this and Chronic Town on cassette and having seen them a dozen or so times, across most of their tours, going back to Reckoning (which should be on this list, as one of the great all-time sophomore efforts, and a better record than this one, IMHO). And as seminal and influential as this record was (for which it gets a 5), it’s important to remember how much better they got and how much more great music was to come. That the record apparently still means so much speaks to its rarely-paralleled excellence.
I love this album. It is a quintessential indie record. Mysterious, beautiful, melodic. It still sounds great in 2022.
Gorgeous. The perfect mix of musicians and the south of America. Landmark record.
Great album. Probably my second fav REM. Early REM is the best REM!! 4.5/5
Anything by R.E.M is sublime !
A landmark album for sure. R.E.M. remarkably arrived fully formed with everything they would do and innovate already in place. There head nodding rockers, danceable boos, and beauty strewn through this album.
Ai että. En ole bändin enkä laulajan suurin fani, mutta tämän levyn todellakin. Samalla tavalla introverttia ja herkkää kuin monet myöhemmät indiesuosikit. Kestää aina pari biisiä tottua lauluääneen, mutta sitten tuntuu, etten enää parempaa rockia tiedäkään. Ainakin kasarin osalta levy on ihan genren kärjessä.
Great poppy rock. Awesome bass lines.
One of the most striking debut albums of all time. REM here assert themselves with a fully fledged vision of what their "college rock" was already able to accomplish in the early eighties. Peter Buck's guitars jangle, Mike Mills and Bill Berry's rhythm section hop along, and Michael Stipe's vocals often reach sublime heights only him could reach. Mitch Easter and Don Dixon's production is pristine, with a lot a very special touches (a tibetan bell here, a melancholic cello there, a vintage saloon piano elsewhere...), but those special touches still manage to preserve a natural live feel to the recording, giving it its timeless atmosphere. There are so many highlights on *Murmur*: iconic opener "Radio Free Europe"; entranced "Pilgrimage": mystical "Talk About The Passion"--both lively and romantic--; that bouncing "Moral Kiosk" leading the way to the stellar ballad that "Perfect Circle" is--whose title perfectly encapsulates the haunting effect this dreamy tune can have on you. Opening side two, "Catapult" sends you to the sky with its straightforward hooks. A few tracks later, "9-9" channels Gang of Four's percussive use of guitars to create a cut that can even remind you of today's American post-punk acts... And so on... You'd be hard-pressed to find a 1983 release that has aged as well as this one (Violent Femmes' eponymous debut, maybe?). Under the light, one can easily forgive the few slightly less effective songs in this LP ("Sitting Still", "Shaking Through" and "We Walk"), here scattered on a second side that still ends on a triumphant high note with "West of The Fields". But even if some songs on the second part of *Murmur* are somewhat less catchy, there is absolutely no bum note in this LP. No wonder REM's idiosyncratic sound, somewhere between post-punk and folk music, became so influential during the eighties. With such a great headstart, it would have been very unfair if listeners looking for heartfelt and authetic songwriting had not taken the bait. REM later wrote other highlights that can be found in many of their great releases of the eighties and early nineties. But *Murmur* is the one album where their music sounds the most effortless and spontaneous. It has that special charm only perfect or near-perfect debuts can have. No hesitation: at least 4.5 stars for me, here rounded up to a perfect grade. Number of albums left to review: 666 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 163 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 78 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 93
Murmur through Green — peak R.E.M. They put out like an album a year and it all started here with this one. It's not my all-time favorite of theirs but it holds up very well. It's a fine start from Radio Free Europe to West of the Fields. An amazing debut. I want to give it five stars because it sets the table for their career. I want to give it five stars because Mike Mills melodic bass playing and backing vocals are infectious. I want to give it five stars because Michael Stipe's lyrics and delivery are both equally expressive. I want to give it five stars because Bill Berry knows how to construct a beat that's effective in its economy. I want to give it five stars because Peter Buck's ringing tones and articulate arpeggios from this record haunt me to this day. Ok, I'll give it five stars.
Wow, I was incredibly impressed with this. I was familiar with REM's later work but this was like everything I liked about that without being as annoying. Loved it.
I am a big fan of REM, but this album was one that had slipped by me. Given it's their debut, it definitely has a fresh sound but all the elements that I love are there, full of feeling, and Michael Stipe's voice is truly evocative.
"The singer, he had long hair And the drummer, he knew restraint And the bass man had all the right moves And the guitar player was no saint" (portions of the review are originally found in Unseen Power of the Picket Fence. © 1993 Pavement)
My third REM album and I'm finally starting to really dig this band. Really loved the sound of this album and see how it influenced so many other alt rock bands that came after it.
fantastic album start to finish
Brilliant debut record. R.E.M. jumpstarted what we think of now as indie rock. They have a lot of cool underground alternative cred because of their weirdly divergent yet catchy/poppy music. You're listening to real artists, people daring to go against the grain and see where it takes them. R.E.M. has always been an act with substance, that keeps me guessing. I've always appreciated what I perceive to be their deliberate oddball confidence and willingness to deviate from convention but still be accessible and open. They never cultivated or courted exclusivity in a way that so many other acts just trying to be DIFFERENT did. They just are, and we're all cool with it. The music of those who strive to truly enjoy what they enjoy while totally unencumbered by material urges or cares. R.E.M. fucking rules!
Amazing how little it feels like Michael Stipe’s voice changed through all the R.E.M. albums. Also amazing how good this is for a debut!
Listened through twice and just love the vibethe vibes
Easily one of the greatest debut albums ever. R.E.M. emerge on the music scene with a sound that came to define entire genres and influence many of the biggest bands of the 90’s. Mike Mills’ bass lines are innovative and melodic, almost taking on the traditional role of the guitar. Bill Berry’s drumming is extremely tight and playful. Peter Buck’s guitar is wonderfully expressive. And Michael Stipe is just a once in a lifetime singer - even when mumbling his way through anything but the choruses. “Radio Free Europe”, “Pilgrimage”, “Talk About the Passion” and “9-9” are some of the absolute highlights of Murmur. And by “Perfect Circle” it’s hard not to tear up - just a bit.
Greatest sing-along debut ever. It has been way too long since I last listened to Murmur in its entirety, so this was a nice album of the day. Mills' melodic bass is intoxicating and Stipe asserts himself as the voice of a generation. 'Radio Free Europe', 'Pilgrimage', 'Talk About The Passion', and 'Sitting Still' are all perfect tracks.
En fantastisk debut!
This is some dad rock. But good.
Good album. Forgot how much I like R.E.M. However, docking it one star for not really being my genre of music.
doesnt have any of their hits, still great
Interesting instrumental and a pleasant voice
Great Album, really like the voice and the composition. Although not a masterpiece, it's definitely a very good 4