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R.E.M. — What's The Frequency, Kenneth
Album: Monster
Avg rating:
7.2

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1876









Released: 1994
Length: 3:51
Plays (last 30 days): 1
"What's the frequency, Kenneth?"
Is your Benzedrine, uh-huh
I was brain-dead, locked out, numb, not up to speed
I thought I'd pegged you an idiot's dream
Tunnel vision from the outsider's screen
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh
You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh

I'd studied your cartoons, radio, music, TV, movies, magazines
Richard said, "Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy."
A smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh

"What's the frequency, Kenneth?"
Is your Benzedrine, uh-huh
Butterfly decal, rear-view mirror, dogging the scene
You smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh

You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh
I couldn't understand
You said that irony was the shackles of youth, uh-huh
I couldn't understand
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I couldn't understand
I never understood, don't fuck with me, uh-huh
Comments (176)add comment
Vocal audio is swamped by the drums and guitar buzz. Not well mixed in my view. 4/10
Sounds like the rest of the band had absolutely no idea what Michael was going for.  Almost like he suddenly wanted to be Sonic Youth and they just wanted to keep doing three-chord pop songs because that's all they know.
 mach-hog wrote:
They tried hard to be relevant, like so many before them and since
 
Yup, only 15 albums.
Never used to like this album, but now realise it is pretty good.
 unclehud wrote:
My kids had a friend named Kenneth.  They were all around 10 years old when this was released.  Their friend was not amused.
 
Really?
Jesus Christ, isn't there anything else to play? Cowboy Junkies?
My kids had a friend named Kenneth.  They were all around 10 years old when this was released.  Their friend was not amused.
They tried hard to be relevant, like so many before them and since
As with a lot of commercially successful bands I like their early stuff more. Which doesn't mean I hate this.
Well damn that R.E.M. Always hated this song. But right now (only) it sounds real good. Go figure. 
 Proclivities wrote:

Rather was attacked near his apartment building in NYC (by two men, he originally stated), not on the White House lawn.  Here's an interesting clip of him singing the tune with R.E.M.
 

*rubs eyes*

*goes to get a drink*
 jacopo777 wrote:

The driving force of this song was Dan Rathers experience on the White House lawn,  where a stark raving lunatic took him down and uttering the words; "what's the frequency Kenneth?" (And later going to prison for killing someone by the way).

They were just winging it.  The quality of the song was secondary...
 
Dan Rather was assaulted near his apartment building in NYC (by two men, he originally stated), not on the White House lawn.  Here's an interesting clip of him singing the tune with R.E.M.
 gandalfbmg wrote:
I don't understand why people hate on this... this is up there with REM's best songs... Must be crusty old farts...
 
The driving force of this song was Dan Rathers experience on the White House lawn,  where a stark raving lunatic took him down and uttering the words; "what's the frequency Kenneth?" (And later going to prison for killing someone by the way).

They were just winging it.  The quality of the song was secondary...
SHIMONAAAA
I don't understand why people hate on this... this is up there with REM's best songs... Must be crusty old farts...
For me, this album has aged particularly well. I didn't care for it much when it first came out. I found it a bit grating -- and I wasn't one of the Automatic for the People-lovers who felt betrayed, because I was young and foolish and hadn't heard that one yet.

Now, it's one of my go-to albums for high-quality tunes through and through.
  sfyi2001 wrote:

                            Once you start putting out shit like this, you are no longer relevant. Quit. {#Smile}


  
Time to follow your own advice. {#Smile}



____

{#Notworthy}

I've never laughed harder at any retort to a comment on RP.  

{#Bananajam}{#Bananapiano}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Bananajam}
 sfyi2001 wrote:

                            Once you start putting out shit like this, you are no longer relevant. Quit. {#Smile}


 
Time to follow your own advice. {#Smile}



                            Once you start putting out shit like this, you are no longer relevant. Quit. {#Smile}





From Duke E.to The Athens, GA Fab Four.

Nice segue, Mr. G. 
 hencini wrote:
Poor Dan Rather.  

 
 Hannio wrote:
He deserves it.  What an asshat.
 
{#Lol}
For me this song marks the end of their mega brilliant phase, after this they were only good. 
Dunno why, but I liken Gordon Downie and Michael Stipes, and their songs, and bands, and awesomeness...
Love the song, love the back story.
 hencini wrote:
Poor Dan Rather.  

 

He deserves it.  What an asshat.
I like REM, but this song never sounded good to me. Too awkward.
 stalfnzo wrote:
I was late to the scene with REM; discovered them years after my friends did. Then, I couldn't get enough of them. Finally, I saw them live about 10 years ago. Oh my god; what a truly uninspired show. Stipe seemed absolutely and completely bored with the whole thing. Ruined REM for me. Too bad.

 
Similar experience for me. Liked them a lot for many years, but never got the chance to see them live until Rock Werchter 2008. Cold performance, horrible sound, bad mood. A ruined band, and memories destroyed beyond repair. Happend to be their last tour.
 Geecheeboy wrote:
I was on the train between concourses at the Atlanta airport once with Dan Rather. He kept eyeballing me. My wife said it's because he's trying to figure out why Joe Biden is on his train.
 

 
LOL!

Incognito?
I was on the train between concourses at the Atlanta airport once with Dan Rather. He kept eyeballing me. My wife said it's because he's trying to figure out why Joe Biden is on his train.
 
 On_The_Beach wrote:
https://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcpzflu2Et1qakq8o.jpg

 
My thoughts exactly!!! It makes me sad to think that the band was never able to achieve the great sound they had up to this point.{#Cry}
Dammit, it's "Kenneth, what is the frequency?"
I was late to the scene with REM; discovered them years after my friends did. Then, I couldn't get enough of them. Finally, I saw them live about 10 years ago. Oh my god; what a truly uninspired show. Stipe seemed absolutely and completely bored with the whole thing. Ruined REM for me. Too bad.
10 years ago I would have given this an 8

Hasn't aged well. 6 
https://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcpzflu2Et1qakq8o.jpg
Definitely one of the bes ones of R.E.M. ...
 aelfheld wrote:
I don't think I'd like this as much as I do if it didn't remind me of Dan Rather getting beat down.

/Didn't say I was a nice person.

 
With your sparkling personality? Never would have guessed. 
Poor Dan Rather.  
Everybody in my churches loves this marvelous song...
Kids were 10 or 12 when this came out, and their little buddy down the street was named Kenneth.  Of course the standard greeting, even from us adults, was ...

Kenneth loved it. 
 Stingray wrote:

While my Romeo gently weeps!

I'd like to know, Romeo, what you cannot dance to.

Song you dislike - they exist?

Don't be always so lovable, good and positive!

Let me know what you cannot stand!

 

I love you, Stingray, even with your sharp wit!  Maybe even because of that!  I cannot dance to music composed by Josef Slavík!

I love this R.E.M. song!
 
according to the comments, this one was played in july ´12for the last time... ??

if this is true, there´s something seriously wrong with the frequency ...
 Stingray wrote:

Let me know what you cannot stand!

 
There is just no pleasure in life for you other than meanness and mal-ice...

While my Romeo gently weeps!

I'd like to know, Romeo, what you cannot dance to.

Song you dislike - they exist?

Don't be always so lovable, good and positive!

Let me know what you cannot stand!




Everybody screamed at me to turn up the volume and jumped up to dance...  we be dancing...


 
Have to appreciate how important this record was for them...pulled them back into things after everyone thought they'd called it quits...and STILL ROCKS AND VIBRATES AS ONLY THEY CAN SOMETIMES!


Hell yes!  We be dancing!  Love it!

 


marvelous...  love it...





 
Ughhh
They did some ok stuff after this,  I think this was last one that really jumped out at me.
Hmm since Peace, Love & Understanding played a few songs back, I imagined I heard the opening chords to that song in this song. 
 
Back to my nap... 
Everybody in the WORLD should love this song!!!
{#Clap}

Everybody in my hotel room loves this song...



 xtalman wrote:

What's happened, economy cause you to down grade from the hotel? {#Cheesygrin}
 


Yikes!  That is possible right now!  I just checked the Dow Jones!  All my money is gone with the wind...

I'm mumbling this morning and putting an m in my hotel room...  we be dancing...

hope you are having a great Monday!

 
 romeotuma wrote:


We be dancing in my motel room this morning...  love this song...

 
 
What's happened, economy cause you to down grade from the hotel? {#Cheesygrin}


Cool guitar tone.

Met REM in Lubbock TX in 1983. They were driving in an old white van. I am surprised I remember that much{#Dancingbanana_2}


We be dancing in my motel room this morning...  love this song...

 


Volume is wayyyy up...  we be dancing this fine Monday morning...

Just sayin: If you don't like this song, then we really shouldn't be friends...




Awesome song!  We be dancing!

 
I like REM but I think this is the last REM song I recall paying any attention to.

{#Guitarist}

Rock on!
 Walrus_Gumbo wrote:


If only it was Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. I would buy tickets!!!
 

Yeah, that would show those intolerant bastards.
 aelfheld wrote:
I don't think I'd like this as much as I do if it didn't remind me of Dan Rather getting beat down.

/Didn't say I was a nice person.
 

Well, at least you're honest with yourself.
This is very good.  "It's not The Size it's The Frequency !"
(some one out there will laugh at that)
I don't think I'd like this as much as I do if it didn't remind me of Dan Rather getting beat down.

/Didn't say I was a nice person.


This song ROCKS...  we be dancing...

 
Hm, not as lame as I remember.
Great song.  There's an interesting - somewhat satirical - take on the Rather incident from Harper's Magazine.

Rather Poster


 RobK wrote:

Comments like this sounds so idiotic to me. "Stop altogether doing what you love to do and do for a living because you're not as remarkable to me as you once were." Brilliant advice, man. And by the way, Bill Berry's decision to retire had little to do with REM's supposedly waning creativity. The guy was worried about dying on stage from another aneurysm.
 

They may not have been as great since this album, but there are some gems on the later ones that I'd miss had they never existed ("Bittersweet Me", "All the way to Reno", and God help me but I love everything on Up...)
perfect friggin playlist.bra!


great song...

 dionysius wrote:


Courage....
 

Yeah... and this song rocks...


One of the better R.E.M. songs for sure......


This really is a fantastic song...




love it...  remember it well...


one of the three rem songs I actually like.
Misterfixit wrote:
David Bowie's bass player sounds ... Wonder if Dan Rather is still wondering what the frequency was and who the hell was Kenneth?
I think Rather's got it out of his system. Stipe's still tripping on the matter: "R.E.M. vocalist Michael Stipe said of the incident: "It remains the premier unsolved American surrealist act of the 20th century. It's a misunderstanding that was scarily random, media hyped and just plain bizarre." On June 22, 1995, at Madison Square Garden, Rather accompanied the band during soundcheck to perform the song. The clip was shown prior to R.E.M.'s performance of "Crush with Eyeliner" on Late Show with David Letterman the following night." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What's_the_Frequency,_Kenneth%3F
My fav REM song...
David Bowie's bass player sounds ... Wonder if Dan Rather is still wondering what the frequency was and who the hell was Kenneth?
pushkinjim wrote:
Official Puke from a puke band! :puke:
Hey man, at least it's official!
Official Puke from a puke band! :puke:
tommychuck wrote:
I'm a huge REM fan but the rest of the band should have followed Bill Berry's lead and hung it up after this one.
Comments like this sounds so idiotic to me. "Stop altogether doing what you love to do and do for a living because you're not as remarkable to me as you once were." Brilliant advice, man. And by the way, Bill Berry's decision to retire had little to do with REM's supposedly waning creativity. The guy was worried about dying on stage from another aneurysm.
Bought this CD recently at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, and have been playing it non-stop since. Love a popular band with the talent to challenge us with change; to not be "Comfortably Numb".
I'm a huge REM fan but the rest of the band should have followed Bill Berry's lead and hung it up after this one.
Love this track. I'm not sure why, but all the elements of the song meld pefectly into a "9" for me. It's not mind blowing, but it does its job perfectly. Plus, gotta love the reasoning behind the name ;)
This song followed Comfortably Numb on this exact date last year. Is this on purpose? Is there a September 4th link to both bands? Am I reading too much into this or are my shoe laces untied?
Heh I wore out this tape.
Um, "but these go to eleven".
Actually, the correct quote was ''What's the frequency, Gwyneth?'' They wanted to know how the rate of intercourse enjoyed by Ms. Paltrow. They thought Rather had interviewed her via the back door. True story.
djblitz wrote:
Yes, because there is nothing like seeing a TV newscaster getting beat up to get your rocks off. :rolleyes:
If only it was Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. I would buy tickets!!! :beat:
Trustocity wrote:
*stomach rumble*
Helchat wrote:
Nope, sorry, I can't support that movement.
EleventhMan wrote:
always gets me up outta my chair
Great memories of a road trip with my two daughters in '95. The hottest tapes we had were Monster, Nirvana Unplugged, and Lloyd Cole's Rattlesnakes. Oh, for some "Perfect Skin!!"
I must have been asleep during most of the 90s and seemed to overlooked this band. Thankfully I discovered these guys through my kids (who are much more in tune than I ever was). REM's body of work is fabulous.
One of REM's worst, IMO. Dan Rather reference or not, it doesn't make for good music.
REM jumped the shark with this one.

The opening chords of this always get my hopes up that it's going to be "Tomboy" by Bettie Serveert. I'm always disappointed that it's not. :frown:
TJOpootertoot wrote:
That chiming, overdriven Rickerbacker means it's time for someone to say, "These guys made the best albums ever when they were on IRS and then they sold out." This might not be the best song they ever did but it does rock. take that, REM-haters. TJ
+1
Ahh, saw these guys in 1995. I love the energy and liveliness of this tune. Where's the banana jumping up and down like its at a rave? :bananajumprope: That's close enough.
Courage....
That chiming, overdriven Rickerbacker means it's time for someone to say, "These guys made the best albums ever when they were on IRS and then they sold out." This might not be the best song they ever did but it does rock. take that, REM-haters. TJ
yuk
slowhand wrote:
One from the dudes from Athens best!
That's some frightful use of the English language there, buddy.
One from the dudes from Athens best!
strick wrote:
Did anybody ever figure what the hell that was all about??
Yahoo! wrote:
In 1997, based on a tip from a psychiatrist, Rather's attacker was identified as William Tager. According to the psychiatrist, Tager, who was currently serving time for killing an NBC stagehand, blamed news media for beaming signals into his head, and thought if he could just find out the correct frequency, he could block those signals that were constantly assailing him. Hence the enigmatic inquiry.
I liked it better when there were more mysteries.
djblitz wrote:
Yes, because there is nothing like seeing a TV newscaster getting beat up to get your rocks off. :rolleyes:
In the case of Dan Rather, yes.
AphidA wrote:
the only reason i even remotely like this song is that it conjures up images of dan rather getting his ass whipped
Yes, because there is nothing like seeing a TV newscaster getting beat up to get your rocks off. :rolleyes:
AphidA wrote:
the only reason i even remotely like this song is that it conjures up images of dan rather getting his ass whipped
Did anybody ever figure what the hell that was all about??
Great follow Comfortably Numb, now REM. Two 10s in a row! PLEASE add Circus Envy in sometime to a playlist. One of my other all time favorites.
"But to have this following Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb"?! I've said it before and I'll say it again about R.E.M.... " Oops it follows the Pink Floyd again.. funny
great song
AphidA wrote:
the only reason i even remotely like this song is that it conjures up images of dan rather getting his ass whipped
:lol: But to have this following Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb"?! I've said it before and I'll say it again about R.E.M.... :puke:
This song is best played loud. Love the reverb.
the only reason i even remotely like this song is that it conjures up images of dan rather getting his ass whipped
No one can call REM inconsistent as they have always followed the convention of making only one phrase per song legible and the rest a mumbled mess.
always gets me up outta my chair & dancing...reminds me of fun, fun , fun times...I'll always love it. :hearteyes:
snurfer wrote:
Song rate: 5 Video rate: 1 for annoying stroboscope light!
:lol:
-relayer- wrote:
Really.Evil.Music.
I can't figure this out, is that a compliment?
Song rate: 5 Video rate: 1 for annoying stroboscope light!
Really.Evil.Music.