30 July 2007

The Most Brilliant Question … Ever

The much loved and greatly admired Dale (of Passion of the) recently offered up his interview skills. Never one to skip a good quiz opportunity (and too busy to come up with ideas to write about), I waved my virtual hand and asked for five. Dale must have been busy as a … well, you know … this weekend, as he came up with some brilliant questions. In fact, they’re so brilliant, I’m going to answer just one or two at a time. Today’s question is the best, most thrilling, fantasy-inducing question I’ve been asked … evah:

Michael Stipe has lost his voice and needs someone to fill in. You're allowed one R.E.M. song to audition with. Which one do you think you could nail?

Is that a fan-damn-tastic question or what!

I agonized over this fan-damn-tastic question all weekend long. My long-desired fantasy to perform in front of Stipe, Mills, and Buck — and I get just one shot? I went through the entire catalog — from Chronic Town through Around the Sun — singing snippets and trying out my dance moves. I narrowed the list down to fifty … then twenty … finally, ten. But I could sing just one.

I should have stopped twenty-four years ago.

I’m a classic R.E.M. fan. I need to sing an early tune, a song that defines the band for me. My gut knew all along my audition song would be "Sitting Still." I can belt that one — and dance and twirl in ways Michael could appreciate. Plus, I’d get the lyrics sheet and finally prove Renae wrong.

But there’s one phrase in Dale’s question that sours it for me: you could nail. Unfortunately, thanks to my God-not-given musical talent, the only R.E.M. song I can honestly nail is "Endgame."

I do, however, think I nail the blue mask:

Come back tomorrow, kids, for another episode of Passions.

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At 7/31/2007 12:12:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

Sometimes I feel like I can't even sing...

I bet you could floor 'em with a lounge-singer-style medley! Don't go back to Rockville...no, no, no...Don't you go back to Rockville now...Not everyone can carry the weight of the world...not everyone can carry that weight...hey! Talk about the passion, yeah yeah...

Oops, I just threw up in my mouth. Later.

At 7/31/2007 02:27:00 AM, Blogger Moxie said...

I like how the blue mask coordinates nicely with your top. What's the story behind that mask on Stipe? Was it just a stage gimmick or some much more fun reason?

(May your frettin' & a-stressin' be no more, my dear!)

At 7/31/2007 06:28:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

I toyed with the idea of no R.E.M. questions Beth, but thought that would be a cheap trick and you know, I want you to want me.

Excellent answer. Now let's hear it. Sitting Still, not Endgame.

Look how earnestly Michael wants you to sing!

At 7/31/2007 07:21:00 AM, Blogger Tenacious S said...

Michael would be proud. Personally, "The One I Love" is one of my favorite sing-loudly-in-the-car songs.

At 7/31/2007 08:19:00 AM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think it would matter not a whit to REM whether you could nail the song once they caught one glimpse of you in your resplendent blue mask. Because you totally own that thing and you would do Michael proud.

Now let's see you dance.

At 7/31/2007 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Johnny Yen said...

Those first three REM records are just inextricably wound into my young adulthood-- Chronictown, Murmur and Reckoning are such brilliant records.

I'd probably do Rockville, but would be tempted to do "Gardening At Night" just to learn the lyrics.

At 7/31/2007 10:15:00 AM, Anonymous john said...

Well, that question kept me thinking all the way to work. In the end, it came down to "Time After Time" or "Undertow" - with the former just edging it.

Back in the real world, my version of "Emphysema" would match the aural bliss of your "Endgame".

At 7/31/2007 12:42:00 PM, Blogger Michael K said...

I'd have to go with Swan Swan H or I Believe. Actually, These Days would also be good. Ya know, I'd just sing that whole album. That record changed me a lot musically.

At 7/31/2007 01:20:00 PM, Blogger New and Used Records said...

I am going to say "Country Feedback." Now I highly doubt that I could actually pull that one off, however if I did nail it - it's hard to imagine being able to compete with that. That song is so intense and is one of the few that makes you stop whatever it is that you're doing.

Maybe - only slightly less intense - I would go with "So Central Rain" because that would allow one to show off both their rocker and emotional side.

At 7/31/2007 01:45:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

HAAHNSTER: I’m slapping my forehead with Why Didn’t I Think of Thats! How brilliant would that be; think of what I could do with “Radio Free Europe”! (p.s. I’ve missed your comments; good to see you again.)

MOXIE: That’s the fun of Photoshop; you’d never guess that the shirt is actually brick red! Who knows why Michael wore the blue face paint? Part of me doesn’t want to know; it adds to that Stipe mystique that keeps me giggling. (And thanks for the wishes; it’s getting better every day.)

DALE: I need you to need me, Dale. Hide the dogs and grab the earplugs, and I’ll belt out “Sitting Still” for you.

TENACIOUS S: I love to sing “The One I Love”! You should see the theatrics I put into “FIRE”!

BARBARA: I may start rockin’ the blue mask daily. And you’d LOVE to see me dance; that’s one musical thing I can do with wild abandon.

At 7/31/2007 01:45:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

JOHNNY YEN: “Gardening at Night” was choice #2. I love to sing and dance and spin to that song; makes me feel nineteen again (although I was twenty-two the first time I heard it).

JOHN: We gotta figure out a way to stage our “Emphysema”/“Endgame” performance! Get working on those la-las!

MICHAEL K: It’s a great album for those musically changing moments. Murmur was my moment, and “Sitting Still” would be a lot of fun for me to sing.

NEW AND USED RECORDS: Both are excellent choices … and I could nail neither.

At 7/31/2007 02:35:00 PM, Blogger Artful Dodger said...

Let's do a duet you and I. I know all the words to "It's the End of the World". Even if we mess up hilarity will ensue. We can always say we're acting out the REM scene from Tommy Boy.

At 7/31/2007 08:01:00 PM, Blogger Allison said...

Love that picture, and thank-you for the mp3. I'm expanding my R.E.M knowledge each day coming here :)

At 7/31/2007 09:51:00 PM, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

I'm with you on the God-not-given talent.

Don't think there's a single REM song I could sing well enough to even deserve the REM CDs in my collection.

I'm so ashamed.

At 7/31/2007 10:33:00 PM, Blogger chelene said...

That really is a great question. Dale always amazes me.

I'm sure that you could pull off any of their songs, Beth. And you sure do know how to work a blue mask.

At 7/31/2007 10:56:00 PM, Blogger pezda said...

"Did you never call? I waited for your call
These rivers of suggestion are driving me away"

not that I have one ounce of musical/lyrical ability

I'm sorry

At 7/31/2007 11:27:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

ARTFUL DODGER: Let's do it! I'm a chick, so I've never seen Tommy Boy; what's the R.E.M. scene?

ALLISON: By the dawn of 2008, you'll be as obsessed as I. R.E.M. is much more beloved in the UK, so think of it as my helping you culturally.

THIRD WORST POET: I gave up that shame when I turned 45. Now I'll sing around anyone, dammit!

CHELENE: I should wear that mask more often, shouldn't I? And, yes; that Dale is one amazing kid.

PEZDA: Beautifully played!

At 8/01/2007 08:32:00 PM, Blogger bigshoulders said...

"Begin the Begin" would be my audition song. Or maybe "Swan Swan H" would be a better fit...

I sound just like him in my head. :)

great Passions!
kudos Dale and Beth!


At 8/02/2007 03:38:00 PM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

Wow, Dale asked you a question about REM? How brilliant! :)

Love, cp the smartass....

At 8/02/2007 09:26:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Hey, I'm supposed to be the smartass! Good work CP you bastard.

At 8/06/2007 02:48:00 PM, Anonymous Renae said...

Okay, at some point I will stop laughing at the idea/image/sound of you, my beloved Bethie, actually singing (again) in public. I'm not sure if the world has fully recovered from the first time (or was it?) in Madison. God gave you the ability to write and we should all be thankful as it keeps you too busy to sing!



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