March Music Madness: REM vs. XTC [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-09-2005, 09:17 AM
The alphabet soup battle, REM vs. XTC. Please vote for your favorite.

Where we stand with prior matches (all polls still open):
Nirvana (12) leads Joy Division (9) in a see-saw battle
Beach Boys (12) slam the Doors (8)
Modest Mouse (7) squeak by Trail of Dead (5)

03-09-2005, 09:34 AM
The alphabet soup battle, REM vs. XTC. Please vote for your favorite.

Not a huge fan of either. I only own a couple of albums from each band. I find music from both bands to be widely hit-n-miss, but the tracks I like by XTC, I think I like more than the stuff I like by REM. Hope that made some sense :rolleyes:

03-09-2005, 09:43 AM
REM- solid American rock band. Frequently whiney and nauseatingly politically correct. Outlived it's usefulness by constantly releasing albums that sounded too much like the last one. "Superman" was sure a great single though. And they are still capable of the great single, but I haven't enjoyed a whole REM album since the reign of Bush the 1st.

XTC- The best band of the 80s in my book. Brilliant lyrically, creative muscally. Intuitive and innovative in the studio. Quirky, odd and unpredictable. Not many bands could have pulled off the "Dukes of Stratosphere" project. XTC is one of the most undervalued bands, ever.

03-09-2005, 09:51 AM
This one's easy for me. XTC never really did much at all for me. I liked Making Plans for Nigel OK..and they had a tune here and there I liked moderately, but they're one of those bands I just never understood the hoopla over.

REM, while they've gone downhill with age, put out a string of records while they wre on IRS that were simply fantastic to me. The one two of Mummur followed by Reckoning would be more than enough to put them way over the top alone. Yet, they still put out strong stuff like Document and even Automatic for the People. From what I see, along with the Smiths from the other side of the ocean, they laid the groundwork for the whole jingle jangle pop sound that permeated the underground for years and is still going strong.

I like my chances of finally backing a winner in this race, but what do I know, I've come up empty-handed in these polls so far.

03-09-2005, 10:45 AM
I like both bands. But if I think about what gets played more often around here, it's REM. So, that must mean that I enjoy listening to REM more than I enjoy listening to XTC. Thus, REM gets my vote (and, currently, I'm the tie-breaker :) ).

03-09-2005, 11:10 AM
XTC's certainly a great band in my book. But their sound is often so hermetic and formalist, even on their best albums, which keeps them from ranking higher in my book (and I think has kept them from being more popular). REM have made albums that I esteem much higher than any XTC album and they have such a warm and human sound. Both their 80s period on IRS Records and their more musically experimental and less-celebrated Warner Bros. work contain some some really great stuff. And I think REM are one of the handful of best American rock bands since 1980. So it's not too close for me despite the fact that I own and enjoy several XTC albums.

03-09-2005, 11:26 AM
Hmm, again, I like both, but one group was just at a whole 'nuther level in it's prime...
REM gets my vote. Even if I don't like their much of their newer music.

I've nothing bad to say about XTC though.

Mr MidFi
03-09-2005, 11:52 AM
These match-ups have been even better than last year's...nice job, nt1.

I really like both of these bands a lot. But only one of them is truly special to me: REM.

I went to school with these guys. I saw them before they had a record deal. I once saw them at a club so small and rinky-dink, there was actually a hole in the floor. And even after they got "big," they still remained the coolest guys in town. I doubt if Peter Buck remembers it, but I helped talk him into buying his first CD player (back in '84).

And I have always, always loved their sound. Critics charge that all of their latter-day output sounds the same, and there is some validity to this complaint. But still, play the New Adventures disc back-to-back with their latest one...believe me, there's a vast difference. And even if you just want to pay attention to their output from Chronic Town through Automatic for the People, has there ever been an American band with that kind of track record of consistent excellence?

XTC's Oranges & Lemons and Black Sea albums are among my absolute favorites of the 1980s. But as much as I like those and other XTC offerings, this one is no contest for me.

REM may well be my favorite band ever.

03-09-2005, 12:47 PM
At first I thought this one was close for me, especially because I've been enjoying XTC more and more lately. But in the end, XTC just has too much stacked up against them, and there's a lot of their stuff that I don't think is all that great. Here's how I stack them up on the fly (for the ones I'm familiar with) :

Chronic Town (9.8)
Murmur (9.5)
Reckoning (9.0)
Fables of the Reconstruction (7.8)
Lifes Rich Pageant (9.2)
Document (8.5)
Green (6.0)
Out of Time (4.0)
Automatic for the People (7.0)
Monster (5.5)
New Adventures in Hi-Fi (6.5)

Drums and Wires (9.2)
English Settlement (8.5)
Mummer (6.8)
Big Express (7.7)
Skylarking (8.0)
Oranges and Lemons (6.8)
Wasp Star (6.2)

Those first five REM albums and Chronic Town crush any chance XTC had, in my book.

03-09-2005, 04:52 PM

I must be hanging out on the wrong board . . .

03-10-2005, 06:56 AM
I hate REM.

I love XTC.



03-10-2005, 07:22 AM
XTC releases brought me far higher than anything REM did. I can't say I am listening to either that much lately (temporarily, I'm sure), but both helped nurture my continuing curiousity to keep looking for new music on the horizon.

Stone...uh...Black Sea?

03-10-2005, 07:48 AM
of that particular scene and period in music, I can't run down album for album and do a comparison. Simply for me, I can recall and hum more REM tunes than XTC tunes. Also REM did have some simply amazing videos and stunning lyrics. My opinion is not as informed on these two bands as I'd like but I feel confident I'd heard enough of each to make rational decision. If I'm NOT familiar enough with two bands bodies of work I do NOT take the poll as an uninformed opinion is worse than none at all.

Da Worfster :cool:

Mr MidFi
03-10-2005, 08:46 AM
Stone...uh...Black Sea?

Seriously, dude. You need that one.

03-10-2005, 08:49 AM
I should not have said that I hate REM. I respect the band and they have done a lot.

But I saw them in concert once and it was bad bad bad bad, and I'm an so tired of their "sound", and radio has ruined them for me.

Same goes for the Stones and Beatles.


03-10-2005, 04:59 PM
I don't think R.E.M. at their best was even as good as Let's Active, much less XTC. I love Reckoning, saw them on that tour in a standing room only club. But I was amazed that so many people were blown away at how "good they were". I was more excited about the direction they were pushing music into rather than blown away by what they had done, a more American, jangly, rural psych pop thing, more Byrds than XTC's Beatles. (Btw, it all started with Buddy Holly. Check out "Words Of Love", then listen to the Beatles version.) The potential was enormous but it never really came to flower for some reason. The second time I saw them was the tour for Life's Rich Pageant . The difference was really strking. They weren't so much a unit anymore, bouncing off each other and stumbling across the stage. Now Stipe was more of a front man/performer with a powerful band behind him. I remember it struck me distinctly as a Byrne/Heads situation. But they never touched what the Heads had done or any number of other bands from the late 70's/early 80's new wave era. Andy Partridge is a songwriter, Michael Stipe isn't in the same ballpark. (Troy, they didn't even write "Superman", that was a 60's song by a Houston band called The Clique.) Enough already. I cast my vote for XTC. Formalistic? Arguably so until 1983 when each song on every album was wildly different in style.

"E-Bow The Letter. E-Bow The ****e. It's all the same song." -Andy Partridge

mad rhetorik
03-13-2005, 06:27 PM
R.E.M. were only good for their first three IRS albums, really, before beginning to decline. And they're waaayyyyy past their prime now.

XTC, on the other hand, have produced a clutch of awesome albums throughout their span (beginning from <b>Drums & Wires</b> and continuing from there). Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding can almost do no wrong in my eyes.

This one's easy.

03-14-2005, 04:18 AM
Stone...uh...Black Sea?

Seriously, dude. You need that one.

I hear ya. I'm putting it on my Wish List.