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Musical Pairings: R.E.M. – Murmurs (paired w/ Maple Syrup-Roasted Delicata Squash and Farro)

Kasey prepared today’s featured recipe on eating/sf (maple syrup-roasted delicata squash and farro) as a meal for us to take on the road before a long flight. It is simple, flavorful and delicious. And because it tastes great served hot or cold, it is a good recipe for when you are on the go. Today’s musical pairing to accompany this delicious vegetarian to-go recipe is R.E.M.’s timeless debut Murmur. And if I do say so myself, I think R.E.M. would approve of this pairing. After all, according to accounts of the bands early history, when R.E.M. hit the road on their first tour supporting the songs that would comprise Murmur, they lived on a food allowance of only $2 a day, and although farro is relatively expensive – you’d get a lot of bang for your buck out of this recipe. And it is hearty enough to give you the energy you’d need to drive from, say, Athens, GA, to Charlotte, NC, and still have the ability to perform a gig at the end of your trip.

To be honest, I’d gone through a brief anti-R.E.M. phase for the better part of the past decade. I think that had a lot to do with a sort of R.E.M. fatigue that resulted from the frequency at which their singles appeared on TV, in movies, and on the radio throughout the better part of the past two decades. And as a result, my R.E.M. records didn’t get a lot of play. So when I pulled my copy of Murmur from its sleeve to throw on the record player, I felt like I was hearing it for the first time all over again. My first thought was that it’s hard to believe Murmur is 26 years old (it was released the same year as Michael Jackson’s Thriller). It certainly doesn’t sound that old. Listening to Peter Buck’s ringing guitar riffs; Bill Berry’s punchy drumming; Mike Mills’ melodic bass lines; and Michael Stipe’s smooth howl on “Radio Free Europe” there is no question that this album would receive the same critical acclaim and dogged devotion if it had been released just last week. Cuts like “Pilgrimage” and “Talk About the Passion” are notable for the evocative nature of Stipe’s cryptic lyrics and Buck’s light, circular guitar melodies. The song writing on tracks like “Moral Kiosk” is deliciously intriguing due to the contrast between the smooth, linear verses and the spiked, rugged choruses. The album’s black sheep is “Perfect Circle” where Stipe and Co. put away the reverb and jangly guitar in favor of a swirling crispness courtesy of a bright, wistful piano melody supplied by Mills. If you have given this record a spin in awhile, I recommend dusting off your copy like I did. The remastered version is available at Amazon.

R.E.M. – Radio Free Europe

Head back to eating/sf to read Kasey’s recipe for maple syrup-roasted delicata squash and farro.

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Posted by Matthew Hickey

Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

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