Episode 187: Shiny Happy Podcast

Episode 187: Shiny Happy Podcast
It's "Automatic For The People" as Pat and Co-Host April Richardson serve up an entire episode of their favorite R.E.M. songs.
From February 12, 2014

With your hosts:

Pat Francis

April Richardson

00:00:00 Pat welcomes us to the show. We begin with Batman talk. Which Batmobile is the best? Pat and Kyle say it is the Adam West version, while April says its the Michael Keaton version because it had a bunch of different gadgets. Speaking of Mr. Keaton, we transition to Birdman talk. Pat marvels how the actors could remember all of those lines without doing any cuts. They discuss the ending. Did he really have powers? Kyle thinks no because only Keaton's character experiences them. April calls herself childish and dumb because she hates ambiguous endings. She just wants to know what happened, dammit! The last time she felt this way was with Donnie Darko, which she did not like. Kyle says Donnie Darko, like Requiem for a Dream, is a movie you only like when you're in high school. April doesn't like thinking that she is a moron for not getting a movie.
"If I want to see static and a Wayans brother, I'd just watch basic cable."
- Kyle, talking about Requiem for a Dream
00:05:00 Next up in movie talk: Inherent Vice. "It's a chore," says Pat. It's pleasing to look at, but nobody knows what the hell it was about. Whiplash: Thumbs Up. Foxcatcher: Thumbs Up. Kyle says that Steve Carell as John DuPont is like a crazier Michael Scott. April is single again and has been Netflixing her ass off. She re-watched the entire US Office and she didn't love it. It was too unbelievable for her, she couldn't buy into it. Michael Scott went from an annoying boss to a complete and utter moron.
00:10:00 Alright, enough of that stuff. Let's talk about some music. Today's episode is Shiny Happy Podcast: The Music of R.E.M. It's funny how an episode devoted to their best stuff is named after their worst song. R.E.M. is April's favorite band in the whole wide world. April grew up in Georgia and R.E.M. was the soundtrack to her teen years. They were her first adult music. Her older stepbrother listened to them in his room, where April hear them. She was attracted by the music video to "Stand." April bought the album Green and loved it. She often went to Athens to visit places like the church where R.E.M. first played and the Weaver D's restaurant where the title "Automatic for the People" comes from.
00:10:00 Pat and April really enjoyed the Saxual Harassment show, but that's not what we're talking about today. Now, today's topic is Rainbow Bands! No, not the actual band Rainbow, but bands and artists with colors in their names: blue, green, red, off white, Macaroni and Cheese, burnt sienna, Tickle Me Pink. There are A LOT of colors out there, although a lot of them are either blue or black, according to April. One more thing about the Foo Fighters: It was a 3 hour show and Dave Grohl doesn't sleep. He just keeps putting out awesome stuff.
00:15:00 For her 15th birthday, April wanted her mom to take her to Athens on an R.E.M. tour. At Weaver D's, she was served by Weaver D himself. April sweetly asked him where R.E.M. lived and Weaver actually told them where Michael Stipe and Mike Mills lived! April has a photo of a 15-year-old her and Mike Mills on his porch. Mike was very cool to her. Years later, Billy Bragg was on tour with him. April went up to Mike and apologized to him for nerding out and knocking on his front door. Mike said it was no big deal, it happens often.

A 15-year-old April Richardson and R.E.M. guitarist Mike Mills.
Pat says R.E.M. have great album covers. He likes the Automatic for the People album cover especially. April brings up that the Green album cover has a strange cover where the number 4 is embossed over both of the R's. Pat also brings up the New Adventures in Hi-Fi cover.
00:20:00 The only R.E.M. album that April isn't a fan of is Around the Sun. Even R.E.M. admits that it was a weak effort. Inspector Kyle meanwhile has some info about the 4's and the R's on Green. It was an early typing mistake that the printer made because the 4 is so close to R on the keyboard, so the band adopted the mistake for the album. Those quirky chaps.
Okay, it's time to finally play music. Pat is a casual R.E.M. fan, but chances are, he'll own every single album by the end of the month. He kicks us off with a song off of R.E.M.'s last album Collapse into Now. The song is called "All the Best". After the band broke up, April had to take a knee. A lot of the Collapse into Now songs hint that the band was on the verge of closing the book. Since Bill Berry left the group, they've had a number of different drummers, but no one was ever announced as a replacement.
00:25:00 April's first pick is, oddly enough, from the Batman & Robin Soundtrack. It's a song called "Revolution". Awful movie, but the song is good. Kyle had a VHS copy of the film and an ad for the soundtrack played before the movie.
Monster sold four million copies, yet it is the most sold back used CD EVER. Very strange. Pat plays the big hit off the album called "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"
"Every CD store is like a sea of orange."
- April, talking about Monster
00:30:00 You know what Pat loves about R.E.M.? They're a meat and potatoes type of rock band: vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. Why does April love R.E.M.? Because they are R.E.M. She LOVES THEM SO MUCH!!!! She was in a fan club that sent her newsletters and stickers and such every month. Michael Stipe was the first true weirdo that she knew. It's that beautiful bald head of his. She plays her next pick from Fables of the Reconstruction called "Life and How to Live It". Patton Oswald has a whole chapter in his first book dedicated to Fables of the Reconstruction and Michael Stipe reads part of it in the audiobook.
Pat's next pick is "Imitation of Life" off the album Reveal.
00:35:00 Pat mentions that album sales started to drop around this time. April says people started thinking that R.E.M. were dad rock. She never got that impression, she always thought they were on par with U2. Problem was the album sales didn't show it. Mixed reviews didn't help either, nor did their irregular touring schedule. But the band was big. They did THREE MTV Unplugged specials. When they were on SNL promoting Monster, they got to do 3 songs instead of 2. Not many other artists can say that. April plays her next pick which is "Exhuming McCarthy" off of Document.
00:40:00 The next song on Pat's list is from R.E.M.'s second album Reckoning. It's a song called "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)". April plays a little bit of the Unplugged version. Stipe's voice really gets better as time goes on. Also interesting to note is that songwriting credits go across the board for every song.
April plays a song from R.E.M.'s very first release, the EP Chronic Town. The song is called "Wolves, Lower".
00:45:00 A good amount of R.E.M.'s albums were produced by Scott Litt. They tend to stick with producers for a good while. On another note, Lifes Rich Pageant is April's favorite album of all time. April has a Billy Bragg tattoo but she does not have an R.E.M. tattoo. She doesn't know R.E.M. like she knows Billy. Pat takes us back to the music with a song from the album Accelerate called "I'm Gonna DJ". It's a fun, dumb rock song. Accelerate is a tight rock album, as is Collapse into Now.
00:50:00 April has a strange song as her next pick from the compilation album Dead Letter Office. The song is called "Voice of Harold". It's the same music as the R.E.M. song "7 Chinese Brothers," but the lyrics are Michael Stipe singing the liner notes off a random gospel album. What does Kyle think of R.E.M.? He knows their hits. And he likes what is being played today. If this were U2, he would have already smashed his head against the wall.
Pat's next pick comes from the Man on the Moon Soundtrack. It's a song called "The Great Beyond".
00:55:00 The next song on April's list is from the album Green. It's an untitled hidden track, but I'm going by the Wikipedia name "11". It's a good song, so it's strange that it is a hidden track.
New Adventures in Hi-Fi is the next album on display. Pat plays a song called "Electrolite". NAiHF is the last million-selling album, the last Bill Berry album, and the last Scott Litt album. Perhaps that was what signaled the beginning of the decline.
April once met Michael Stipe at a random show once and she cried on the way home. That bald head, man, it's a powerful thing to behold in person. Michael is a very low talker. He also recently opened up for Patti Smith in concert.
01:00:00 April tried getting into Patti Smith, but she had a tough time digesting it. Pat says that the key to getting a connection with your favorite artists when you meet them is by finding out who are their favorites and mentioning them. Solid life hack from Pat Francis!
Don't try out R.E.M.ing April Richardson, because she gets everything, including random compilation songs like this one. Off the compilation album Born to Choose, it's "Photograph" which features Natalie Merchant on vocals.
Pat's next pick is a song off the greatest hits album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1980--2003. The song is called "Bad Day".
01:05:00 The song is like R.E.M. ripping themselves off. It sounds very similar to "It's the End of the World as We Know It." April has an old song on her phone from the 80s that is pretty much a demo of "Bad Day." We hear a little bit of it.
April plays her next song, which is off the album Reckoning. The song is "Little America".
01:10:00 Pat's feeling a little tired, so he plays his next pick "Daysleeper" off the album Up. April never not listens to R.E.M. She always has it at the ready. How is April's CDs to iTunes voyage going? For those who don't remember, April's computer crashed and her entire iTunes library went kaput, so she has to upload her thousands of CDs all over again. She's still chugging along. Remember to back up your stuff, folks.
April plays a song off of her favorite album ever Lifes Rich Pageant. It's the opening track "Begin the Begin".
01:15:00 While that may be April's favorite R.E.M. album, Pat's favorite R.E.M. album is Automatic for the People. He plays "Nightswimming".
We go back to the beginning with April's next pick. Off of their first album Murmur, it's the song "Perfect Circle". Early Stipe is a mumbly Stipe. He learned how to sing as time went on. David Lee Roth, on the other hand.... April actually thinks that Diamond Dave is gay! Part of her reasoning is that there is ZERO footage of Dave with a woman. This is quite the situation to ponder. April says that if Dave is gay, he should just come out because it's 2015. Besides, Rob Halford came out in the 90s and everyone still loves him immensely. He's the Metal God, for crying out loud.
"[David Lee Roth] is like the Benjamin Button of singing."
- Kyle, with the line of the episode
01:20:00 Pat's next pick is from the Vanilla Sky Soundtrack. It's a song called "All the Right Friends". There is some brief Vanilla Sky and even briefer Magnolia chat. Pat warns us all not to bring up Magnolia around former Rock Solid guest Ted Lyde because Ted HATES that movie. You have been warned.
April's next pick is from the Coneheads Soundtrack! Seriously! The song is called "It's a Free World, Baby".
01:25:00 Were the Coneheads fans of R.E.M.? Possibly. But could they be bigger fans than April? No way Jose. Pat tries his best to keep up with next pick. Off the album New Adventures in Hi-Fi, it's the song "Bittersweet Me".
April is having a tough time picking her second-to-last song. They are like her children. She has to pick though, so she goes with "Texarkana" off the album Out of Time.
01:30:00 Pat's last pick is "Fall on Me" off the album Lifes Rich Pageant. April is touched that he would pick such a song. But wait! Pat calls an audible and plays a little bit of R.E.M. doing "Furry Happy Monsters" from Sesame Street. Adorable. Pat wonders if Michael Stipe will do a solo album. Probably, says April. He's still very much interested in music.
01:35:00 April's last pick comes from Fables of the Reconstruction. It's the song "Can't Get There from Here". It was a hard decision because April brought 323 songs, but she made it.
Pat's last pick is "Supernatural Superserious" off the album Accelerate.
April is on a stand up tour with Chris Hardwick and if you would like to see her lay the funny down on your funky selves you can go to Funcomfortabletour.com. The dates: St. Louis on March 13, Minneapolis on April 10, and Madison on April 11. Get those tickets quick, folks.
01:40:00 April thanks Pat for letting her spill her R.E.M. juices all over the show. This is her favorite episode ever... of all time.
It's the end of the episode as we know it and I feel fine. April ends it with "Crush with Eyeliner" off the album Monster.
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:20:00 All the Best Collapse into Now R.E.M. Pat
00:25:00 Revolution Batman & Robin Soundtrack R.E.M. April
00:25:00 What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? Monster R.E.M. Pat
00:30:00 Life and How to Live It Fables of the Reconstruction R.E.M. April
00:30:00 Imitation of Life Reveal R.E.M. Pat
00:35:00 Exhuming McCarthy Document R.E.M. April
00:40:00 So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) Reckoning R.E.M. Pat
00:40:00 Wolves, Lower Chronic Town R.E.M. April
00:45:00 I’m Gonna DJ Accelerate R.E.M. Pat
00:50:00 Voice of Harold Dead Letter Office R.E.M. April
00:50:00 The Great Beyond Man on the Moon Soundtrack R.E.M. Pat
00:55:00 11 Green R.E.M. April
00:55:00 Electrolite New Adventures in Hi-Fi R.E.M. Pat
01:00:00 Photograph Born to Choose R.E.M. feat. Natalie Merchant April
01:00:00 Bad Day In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 R.E.M. Pat
01:05:00 Little America Reckoning R.E.M. April
01:10:00 Daysleeper Up R.E.M. Pat
01:10:00 Begin the Begin Lifes Rich Pageant R.E.M. April
01:15:00 Nightswimming Automatic for the People R.E.M. Pat
01:15:00 Perfect Circle Murmur R.E.M. April
01:20:00 All the Right Friends Vanilla Sky Soundtrack R.E.M. Pat
01:20:00 It’s a Free World, Baby Coneheads Soundtrack R.E.M. April
01:25:00 Bittersweet Me New Adventures in Hi-Fi R.E.M. Pat
01:25:00 Texarkana Out of Time R.E.M. April
01:30:00 Fall on Me Lifes Rich Pageant R.E.M. Pat
01:35:00 Can’t Get There from Me Fables of the Reconstruction R.E.M. April
01:35:00 Supernatural Superserious Accelerate R.E.M. Pat
01:40:00 Crush with Eyeliner Monster R.E.M. April