To close out the project, I’ll be awarding the best parts of each project. Cuz its fun and so are categories. I’ll “Nominate” up to four songs for each category as honorable mentions, then pick my favorite in each, giving a mention to why each song was nominated.
Favorite Keyboard Part
- This was recorded right after I set up my new music recording office. I jusplayed background piano through the song once. It was the first time I played the analog part instead of programming MIDI
- The ending piano arpeggios here are one of my favorite REM additions from the entire project.
- Best Organ Part of the project. I’ll listen to this in the future to remember how I blended it in.
Favorite Drum Part
- Default win here for being the only performed drum part in the project. All others are MIDI programmed or Garageband auto-drummer tracks. Go Doumbek
Favorite Bass Part
Carnival of Sorts (Boxcar)
- The rise in the pre-chorus is my favorite part of any REM song. It’s all due to the bass. This is the bassline I think of when I claim that Mike was the best melodic punk bass player ever. See also Radio Free Europe for this feeling.
What’s the Frequency Kenneth?
- A non-flashy bass part that was played and recorded well here. So many of Mike’s lines are the secret ingredient to these songs.
- Another one where I nailed the bass tone as it fitst with the song. Plus the only time I got to slap.
- The best basslines are the one that secretly lead the song. I got right in the spot I wanted for this one.
Favorite Electric Guitar Part
- The feedback on the guitar parts here sound great to me. Especially without an amp, just garageband plig-ins on the signal.
Begin the Begin
- Despite my disliking the “garageband” guitar sound by the end of the project, I managed to pull all the good parts out here. After this, no more relying on garageband amp modeling and plug-ins for distortion. I got a Boss metal-zone pedal for Xmas. I’ll be crafting a sound between that and my old Boss overdrive.
- Love all the tones on this one. Especially on the electric violin part that replaced the e-bow.
What’s the Frequency Kenneth?
- Both figuring out the intro layered parts and the solo itself gets this one in. I played this at my parents’ house on a visit. Sitting right up at the family kithen bar doing thirty-some takes.
Favorite Acoustic Instrument Part
Sweetness Follows (guitar)
- The entire track was based on the acoustic guitar part, and this one turned into one of my favorites.
Sad Professor (guitar)
- This will always be remembered as the first time I learned how to play in open D tuning.
You Are The Everything (mandolin)
- I borrowed Nate’s Mandolin for this one.
Favorite Harmony/Background Vocal Part
You Are The Everything
- Getting to yell “Say Say the Light” over 90 times and having them all make the track is a nice thought.
- I got to experiment more with this one, making it more fun.
- The backing vocals were one of the key ingredients here, agan Mike on the secret best part of the song.
At My Most Beautiful
- Gotta Give it up to the Beach Boys harmonies.
Favorite Lead Vocal Part
- Same as with the backing vox track, getting to make this more my own worked well.
Turn You Inside-Out
- Towards the end of the project I began bringing out my warbles more. Something I’ll take with me from all this.
- Another nomination for an all-around great recording.
Begin the Begin
- Just like on Inside-Out, bringing out some of the controled warble put this one up here.
Favorite Faithful Cover
Begin The Begin & These Days
The nominees and winners here are the tracks I enjoy listening to the most from the entire project. Begin the Begin and These Days get the nod togeterh for an obvious LP-related reason.
Favorite Experimental Cover
Don’t Go Back To Rockville
- This was practically from another project, as I put this together as a cover arrangement for my band. We learned it most of the way, and not that we have a show in February, we might finish and play it live.
- Hardly counts here as I was only making up for the lack of brass.
I’ll Take The Rain
- Mostly an excuse to record some lap steel than an experimental cover.
- This is perhaps the best outcome of the project. Its the only track where I made something approaching a new version of the song.
Best In Show
If I had to pick a set of these tracks as a “Best Of” album, here’s the tracklist:
- Begin the Begin
- These Days
- You Are The Everything
- Sweetness Follows
- Finest Worksong
- Carnival of Sorts (Boxcar)
- Pretty Persuasion
- Driver 8
- Sad Professor
- What’s The Frequency Kenneth
- Walk Unafraid
I met almost all the goals I had in mind for this project.
- Improve on Electric Guitar
- Learn how to fake drum parts
- Find where I can sing well
Mostly, I finshed all the songs I set out to cover. Even the three I added made the 2021 cutoff. Just finishing something I’ve started is great to see.
I’m debating what to do next year for a music project. I’ll certainly be putting REM down for a while. I may record an acoustic version once in a while to fill the Recordings page, but nothing else REM in the near future.
Drum / Guitar Project 2022?
The new instrument in the house after Xmas will be a drum set.
I’m considering setting a goal of being able to play High Hat ambidextrously by the end of the year. This would still involve covering songs, but I’d play the drum part both ways on each song, focusing on six songs for the year to slowly improve as opposed to multiple songs a month.
After the disappointment I’ve gotten out of guitar sounds from Garageband plugins, I will also be working on my own guitar tone. Starting with the metal zone and overdrive Boss pedals I have.
To get there, I’ll be using the songs my family each request. Mine is “Cissy Strut” to build some funk drum chops. Andy has already chosen “Black Cat” by Janet Jackson. So that will happen.
I’m tempted to add a Rush song, but I’d rather focus on just the ones from my family to work on drum chops and guitar sound.
My other major goal is to start writing more music. Both for MB and myslef.
Nate posted a version of “One Eyed Dog” for me to work on. That will certainly be part of January. I’ll see if that and the REM work can inspire some more original music.
I will also set a goal of re-designing the website to be less REM focused and more toward whatever my latest project is. It will continue as my ongoing music blog.