330 – R.E.M. – Radio Free Europe (1983)
Written by R.E.M.
Produced by Mitch Easter
Label – IRS
R.E.M’s breakthrough single is a shining example of how the influence of American punk pulled the sonic landscape away from the safe mainstream rock of the previous decade. Whilst daytime commercial U.S. radio was indifferent to new sounds, the college radio scene was awash with creative new wave music and a perfect soundboard for the Athens GA four piece. Peter Buck’s distorted jangly guitar, Bill Berry’s metronomic four to the floor beat and Mike Mills frenetic eighth note bass line form a perfect backing to Michael Stipe’s surreal vocalisations. Originally released as a single in 1981, this 1983 re-recording would be the game changer.