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R.E.M. — Perfect Circle
Album: Murmur
Avg rating:
7.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 957









Released: 1983
Length: 3:22
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Put your hair back, we get to leave
Eleven gallows on your sleeve
Shallow figure, winner's paid
Eleven shadows way out of place

Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room

Pull your dress on and stay real close
Who might leave you where I left off
A perfect circle of acquaintances and friends
Drink another, coin a phrase

Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the room
Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the room
Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the room

Try to win and suit your needs
Speak out sometimes but try to win

Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Comments (131)add comment
 SmackDaddy wrote:

What's funny is that Stipe has admitted that he didn't know what the hell he was doing back then, no clue how to write a song. Basically stringing words together and mumbling through them. The weirdness continues because somehow his lack of skill and the band's limited musicianship managed to create a magic that struck a cord with many. It's pure art in the sense of it being done with no other purpose other than to do it with no care to skill or meaning. That is actually what made early REM so good. There's no "figuring out" the lyrics, there's no hidden meanings, but there are emotions, feelings, and mood galore. 
 
and what's even more interesting is that your critique could possibly be said about many, many bands. it could all just come down to the energy generated by a group of people at a certain point in time.  I am a huge REM fan so I don't mean this comment to discount their music.
 SmackDaddy wrote:
What's funny is that Stipe has admitted that he didn't know what the hell he was doing back then, no clue how to write a song. Basically stringing words together and mumbling through them. The weirdness continues because somehow his lack of skill and the band's limited musicianship managed to create a magic that struck a cord with many. It's pure art in the sense of it being done with no other purpose other than to do it with no care to skill or meaning. That is actually what made early REM so good. There's no "figuring out" the lyrics, there's no hidden meanings, but there are emotions, feelings, and mood galore. 
 
I agree almost wholeheartedly. Listening to this though I wouldn't say they lacked skill (I understand why they might have thought so), training perhaps? Not skill. I suppose it must have been innate.
This style is fairly common now, so new then, so different. And I really like it.
Creativity within limitations (of self, of time, of resources) can be brilliant. I think this is.
 jmkate wrote:
 gorgeous chord changes, sigh.
 

Yeah. Sigh. 
 gorgeous chord changes, sigh.
 molson wrote:
Best REM song ever!{#Bounce}

 
What's funny is that Stipe has admitted that he didn't know what the hell he was doing back then, no clue how to write a song. Basically stringing words together and mumbling through them. The weirdness continues because somehow his lack of skill and the band's limited musicianship managed to create a magic that struck a cord with many. It's pure art in the sense of it being done with no other purpose other than to do it with no care to skill or meaning. That is actually what made early REM so good. There's no "figuring out" the lyrics, there's no hidden meanings, but there are emotions, feelings, and mood galore. 
 dennis_chary wrote:

I have never murdered anybody,nor do I hallucinate fantasies of murder.  I am not wealthy,nor am I obsessed with a perfect appearance. 

 
Your quick synopsis of "American Psycho" was spot on.  I wish I had read it right after I first saw the movie all those years ago and was left scratching my head at the end (not having read the book).
 pfreet wrote:
I imagine Patrick Bateman saying this and get a chuckle.
 


dennis_chary wrote:
Only a 7.9?This is perhaps the most perfect-pun intended-3:31 song ever crafted.Stipe's deceptively subdued vocal belies the very intensely beautiful yet conflicting emotions of wonder,dread,awe,and nostalgia that are subtly yet powerfully evoked by the interplay of the honky tonk and upright pianos.How can RP listeners rank that dreadful piece of schlock "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the criminally overrated Queen higher than this evocation of perfection.Why are many sub standard songs by those plagiarizers Led Zeppelin rated much higher than "Perfect  Circle" or the magnificently harmonized "Fall On Me"? Although I do consider the Beatles a truly great band,I find it ludicrous that the pleasant but inconsequential "Got to Get You into My Life" is rated higher than this pure piece of Nirvana(not the band).Why are so many inferior post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd songs rated higher than any R E M song;or for that matter,any Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd?

 

 
Whether this is meant as an insult or a compliment-I suspect the former-I have never murdered anybody,nor do I hallucinate fantasies of murder.I am not wealthy,nor am I obsessed with a perfect appearance. I just have strong feelings about this song and this band,at least in their early years.If you think I'm being superficial or shallow and that I am expressing my opinion simply to "camouflage" my inner insecurities,you are truly mistaken.If the tone of my response amuses you or annoys you-oh well.
I imagine Patrick Bateman saying this and get a chuckle.
 


dennis_chary wrote:
Only a 7.9?This is perhaps the most perfect-pun intended-3:31 song ever crafted.Stipe's deceptively subdued vocal belies the very intensely beautiful yet conflicting emotions of wonder,dread,awe,and nostalgia that are subtly yet powerfully evoked by the interplay of the honky tonk and upright pianos.How can RP listeners rank that dreadful piece of schlock "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the criminally overrated Queen higher than this evocation of perfection.Why are many sub standard songs by those plagiarizers Led Zeppelin rated much higher than "Perfect  Circle" or the magnificently harmonized "Fall On Me"? Although I do consider the Beatles a truly great band,I find it ludicrous that the pleasant but inconsequential "Got to Get You into My Life" is rated higher than this pure piece of Nirvana(not the band).Why are so many inferior post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd songs rated higher than any R E M song;or for that matter,any Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd?

 


Stipe showing his excellent pop acuity from the get-go. 
 dennis_chary wrote:
Only a 7.9?This is perhaps the most perfect-pun intended-3:31 song ever crafted.Stipe's deceptively subdued vocal belies the very intensely beautiful yet conflicting emotions of wonder,dread,awe,and nostalgia that are subtly yet powerfully evoked by the interplay of the honky tonk and upright pianos.How can RP listeners rank that dreadful piece of schlock "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the criminally overrated Queen higher than this evocation of perfection.Why are many sub standard songs by those plagiarizers Led Zeppelin rated much higher than "Perfect  Circle" or the magnificently harmonized "Fall On Me"? Although I do consider the Beatles a truly great band,I find it ludicrous that the pleasant but inconsequential "Got to Get You into My Life" is rated higher than this pure piece of Nirvana(not the band).Why are so many inferior post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd songs rated higher than any R E M song;or for that matter,any Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd?

 
I'm an R.E.M. fan, too, but you go too far - David Gilmour is the premier guitar hero for me and his tracks with the Floyd are so far above their psychedelic stuff.  It's all subjective taste in the end, of course, but FFS...!
 dennis_chary wrote:

Best song ever! Period. This song should be a 10.
 

 
IT IS!!

I've given 4 "10s" in 11 years, and this is one of 'em.
 dennis_chary wrote:
Only a 7.9?This is perhaps the most perfect-pun intended-3:31 song ever crafted.Stipe's deceptively subdued vocal belies the very intensely beautiful yet conflicting emotions of wonder,dread,awe,and nostalgia that are subtly yet powerfully evoked by the interplay of the honky tonk and upright pianos.How can RP listeners rank that dreadful piece of schlock "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the criminally overrated Queen higher than this evocation of perfection.Why are many sub standard songs by those plagiarizers Led Zeppelin rated much higher than "Perfect  Circle" or the magnificently harmonized "Fall On Me"? Although I do consider the Beatles a truly great band,I find it ludicrous that the pleasant but inconsequential "Got to Get You into My Life" is rated higher than this pure piece of Nirvana(not the band).Why are so many inferior post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd songs rated higher than any R E M song;or for that matter,any Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd?

 
I think the deal with REM is you either worship them or you just scratch your head and consider them harmless,although somewhat irritating.
 molson wrote:
Best REM song ever!{#Bounce}

 
Agreed.
 molson wrote:
Best REM song ever!{#Bounce}

 
Best song ever! Period. This song should be a 10.
 
Best REM song ever!{#Bounce}
Bud. Beth. Paul. Murmer on a substandard turntable and amp while having a few underage beers. This vinyl is still in my rotation. 
Lovely. 
Wow.  Haven't heard anything off Murmur in years (except for RadioFreeEurope).  Plumb forgot what an amazing song this is.  Taking me back...
This one cuts right through, every time! The piano... Stipe's constrained passion... the subtle brilliant work of every member on this one
 dennis_chary wrote:
Only a 7.9?This is perhaps the most perfect-pun intended-3:31 song ever crafted.Stipe's deceptively subdued vocal belies the very intensely beautiful yet conflicting emotions of wonder,dread,awe,and nostalgia that are subtly yet powerfully evoked by the interplay of the honky tonk and upright pianos.How can RP listeners rank that dreadful piece of schlock "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the criminally overrated Queen higher than this evocation of perfection.Why are many sub standard songs by those plagiarizers Led Zeppelin rated much higher than "Perfect  Circle" or the magnificently harmonized "Fall On Me"? Although I do consider the Beatles a truly great band,I find it ludicrous that the pleasant but inconsequential "Got to Get You into My Life" is rated higher than this pure piece of Nirvana(not the band).Why are so many inferior post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd songs rated higher than any R E M song;or for that matter,any Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd?

 
Why worry about it?  Everyone is not going to agree with you; you should have learned that a long time ago.
What an album....Thank you Athens, GA
 
Arguably my favorite R.E.M. song.  Thank You!
 tulfan wrote:

For me, this song holds a special place not for the memories it evokes but for the mood it tends to put me in every time I hear it. The entire first effort is similar in effect.

 
i'm with you.
 treatment_bound wrote:
Everyone covered in a giant growing thatch of kudzu with me agrees with Lazarus...
  
Pueraria lobata is sometimes called "the vine that ate the South"... hope you be having fun in the kudzu, treatment_bound, and life is grand for you right now...

everybody in my homeless camp loves this song, and this album...


Sometimes bands just nail perfection.
 jules44 wrote:

IMHO...people are lemmings and are afraid to think,do,experience for themselves.
This song blew my mind when I first heard it in college. Still does and REM is one of my all time favorite bands!

 

Agreed. Some of the logic on these boards is befuddling but I resist criticizing anyone's ratings which I assume are based in part on personal experiences. For me, this song holds a special place not for the memories it evokes but for the mood it tends to put me in every time I hear it. The entire first effort is similar in effect.
 dennis_chary wrote:
Only a 7.9?This is perhaps the most perfect-pun intended-3:31 song ever crafted.Stipe's deceptively subdued vocal belies the very intensely beautiful yet conflicting emotions of wonder,dread,awe,and nostalgia that are subtly yet powerfully evoked by the interplay of the honky tonk and upright pianos.How can RP listeners rank that dreadful piece of schlock "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the criminally overrated Queen higher than this evocation of perfection.Why are many sub standard songs by those plagiarizers Led Zeppelin rated much higher than "Perfect  Circle" or the magnificently harmonized "Fall On Me"? Although I do consider the Beatles a truly great band,I find it ludicrous that the pleasant but inconsequential "Got to Get You into My Life" is rated higher than this pure piece of Nirvana(not the band).Why are so many inferior post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd songs rated higher than any R E M song;or for that matter,any Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd?

 
IMHO...people are lemmings and are afraid to think,do,experience for themselves.
This song blew my mind when I first heard it in college. Still does and REM is one of my all time favorite bands!
 molson wrote:
Perfection!!

 
AGREE 100%!!
 dennis_chary wrote:
Only a 7.9?This is perhaps the most perfect-pun intended-3:31 song ever crafted.Stipe's deceptively subdued vocal belies the very intensely beautiful yet conflicting emotions of wonder,dread,awe,and nostalgia that are subtly yet powerfully evoked by the interplay of the honky tonk and upright pianos.How can RP listeners rank that dreadful piece of schlock "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the criminally overrated Queen higher than this evocation of perfection.Why are many sub standard songs by those plagiarizers Led Zeppelin rated much higher than "Perfect  Circle" or the magnificently harmonized "Fall On Me"? Although I do consider the Beatles a truly great band,I find it ludicrous that the pleasant but inconsequential "Got to Get You into My Life" is rated higher than this pure piece of Nirvana(not the band).Why are so many inferior post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd songs rated higher than any R E M song;or for that matter,any Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd?

 
I agree totally.  I think it is a generational thing.  People are so used to critics flapping their gums about Beatles and Floyd, they don't realize that there are other great bands and songs as well.  This is a classic and should be a 9+ rating.
Perfection!!
Only a 7.9?This is perhaps the most perfect-pun intended-3:31 song ever crafted.Stipe's deceptively subdued vocal belies the very intensely beautiful yet conflicting emotions of wonder,dread,awe,and nostalgia that are subtly yet powerfully evoked by the interplay of the honky tonk and upright pianos.How can RP listeners rank that dreadful piece of schlock "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the criminally overrated Queen higher than this evocation of perfection.Why are many sub standard songs by those plagiarizers Led Zeppelin rated much higher than "Perfect  Circle" or the magnificently harmonized "Fall On Me"? Although I do consider the Beatles a truly great band,I find it ludicrous that the pleasant but inconsequential "Got to Get You into My Life" is rated higher than this pure piece of Nirvana(not the band).Why are so many inferior post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd songs rated higher than any R E M song;or for that matter,any Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd?
The gentle, intervallic melody combined with the spare piano reminds me, oddly, of Pachelbel's Canon, although the two pieces of music dont' actually sound similar.
 
Wow - have not heard this in AGES.  What a treat!  Lovely tune.
 Lazarus wrote:

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 

 

Everyone covered in a giant growing thatch of kudzu with me agrees with Lazarus...
Fell in love with this when they performed it on MTV Unplugged. It's so subtle.
 MirageRF wrote:
Everyone at the massage parlor loves this tune.

Lower, please.  That's it...........{#Meditate}
 

Everybody in my mushrooming multitude of churches would love to come to your marvelous massage parlor...  hope you be having a marvelous time right now...

love this song...
 
Everyone at the massage parlor loves this tune.

Lower, please.  That's it...........{#Meditate}

marvelous...  love this song...  love this album...
 

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 
Outstanding.  Enough said.
 Lyndra_Ski wrote:
This album thankfully pulled me out of the corporate rock/cock rock/formula rock era and put me well into the '80's and all the exciting things that were happening then in music.  This album changed my life.  I had it glued to my turn table.  I feel sorry for y'all today - you've got the most advanced and coolest technology ever to listen to music, but you don't have the artistic revolution we had.  Even hip hop has gotten a little stale.  I pray for the next revolution...
 
People who were teenagers in the 1960s voiced similar sentiments about the music of the '80s.  There's always some kind of "revolution" or "evolution" in popular music; one generally has to be young enough to notice it, because it's often the case that once people get older, they tend to predominantly appreciate music from their own youth.  Anyhow, good song.
love this song.

seems recorded very softly in comparison to the last several songs prior. weird.
This album thankfully pulled me out of the corporate rock/cock rock/formula rock era and put me well into the '80's and all the exciting things that were happening then in music.  This album changed my life.  I had it glued to my turn table.  I feel sorry for y'all today - you've got the most advanced and coolest technology ever to listen to music, but you don't have the artistic revolution we had.  Even hip hop has gotten a little stale.  I pray for the next revolution...
For some reason this time the song was really quiet compared to the songs before and after (both quiet songs themselves: Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez, and Knock Loud by Neko Case).  I don't recall that being the case before.
this song, for some odd reason, resonates in my heart. as close to a perfect pop song as is possible.
This is one of their better Songs !!! Glad to to hear that here  !!!
I just bumped the overall rating up a tenth of a point. Quite proud of that.
Brain Balm for a ridiculously hectic day.  Thanks, RP!
Simply brilliant! Nuf' said.
Can someone wake him up please?


This song puts a spring in my step this winter night...

 
perfect, indeed! easily one of the best songs of the eightees
Holy crap, this album is nearly 30 years old.

It still sounds new to me.

Everybody in my hotel room loves this song...
 
A perfect circle of / acquaintances and friends / drink another / coin a phrase


This is a great album... and this is a perfect song...

 
 Johnny_Wave wrote:
One of the very few perfect albums
 

Huh... I wouldn't even consider this one of REM's best albums... I can think of at least three better than Murmur...
 crogers wrote:


"Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room"

What does it mean?  {#Stupid}  I suppose that I really have no idea whatsoever — but it sounds great!   
 

Having a sure shoulder high in the wind (refers to golf I think, Stipe had a handicap of 7 at the time)

 romeotuma wrote:


perfect song...

 
 
Kidding? :)
what circle? perfect circle!


This is a great song, and the recording technique is phenomenal... I remember when this came out in 1983... awesome then, and awesome today...

 



perfect song...

 
{#Daisy}
had to check to see that I rated this, and rated it as 10.   i did.  i'm sure ages ago.
A beautiful song from a stellar record. 10.
 Johnny_Wave wrote:
One of the very few perfect albums
 
x2

Damn nice set Bill!! U2 all the way to REM! TKS!!!
 daveesh wrote:
this is one of the very few perfect albums.
 
{#Yes}

Shallow figure, winner's paid  11 shadows way out of place   who might leave you where i left off?

oh the magick

The best.


love it...


One of the very few perfect albums
This song is a perfect example of my overall feeling for R.E.M....pretty good but not great
that was nice
 sirdroseph wrote:
Yes, what a great album this one was. I wonder if they ever listen to their old stuff, I doubt it, it would probably depress them.{#Lol}
 

I hear ya...  this song is great...


Yes, what a great album this one was. I wonder if they ever listen to their old stuff, I doubt it, it would probably depress them.{#Lol}
 Hannio wrote:


Would have loved to have seen REM and the B52s in their early days.
 


I saw them... they rocked... this song is great...



 Vikinglord wrote:

This is a great album and song. One of the songs on the album has a rack of pool balls being broken up with a cue ball. Athens in the eighties was a great place to be......great song.


 

Would have loved to have seen REM and the B52s in their early days.
"a perfect circle of acquaintances and friends"....just like RP!

I read once that Stipe liked to record his vocals lying on his back in the studio...gave it that marble mouth sound.
 Hannio wrote:


Only one "o" in "so" this time?  Not that good, then?

 

Yeah, it qualifies as good, infact so good—  just not a 4-o rating of so good...

(but this still be a good song..:)


 romeotuma wrote:


This song is so good for the ears...
 

Only one "o" in "so" this time?  Not that good, then?

Truly a defining piece for R.E.M.  I really don't know how they could have ever equaled it and perhaps they've spent the rest of their careers chasing it... or not?  Maybe I just don't like the new directions that they took after "Green" and "Life's Rich Pageant".  They will be recognized as an important American band I think.
 crogers wrote:


"Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room"

What does it mean?  {#Stupid}  I suppose that I really have no idea whatsoever — but it sounds great!   
 
Ask Micheal Stype.

This is a great album and song. One of the songs on the album has a rack of pool balls being broken up with a cue ball. Athens in the eighties was a great place to be......great song.




love it...


 crogers wrote:


"Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room"

What does it mean?  {#Stupid}  I suppose that I really have no idea whatsoever — but it sounds great!   
  To me, it seems it's about ego — being too forceful within a group, putting yourself "above" the others ... but wtf do I know ??




This song is so good for the ears...


This continues to be one of my favorite REM songs. This was a groundbreaking album, different than anything else out there when it came out. Life's Rich Pageant ranks right up there with it.
I don't know why, but this album cover always makes me think of the scene with the Knights Who Say 'Ni' from Monty Python.

...
Ni!
 woozurbuddy wrote:
Arguably their best album.
 
You're right! I don't know if they surpassed this one, although they did put out a string of very strong albums after this one.
 manzanitafire wrote:
can someone please tell me what the hell the chorus is of this song?
Have never, for the life of me, had any idea...
 

"Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room"

What does it mean?  {#Stupid}  I suppose that I really have no idea whatsoever — but it sounds great!   




great song...


One of my favourite songs ever. I was lucky enough to hear them sing it live, especially after they admitted they had sung it a total of 32 times live.
One of the best of the best.  A perfect 10.

 orpheus wrote:
true dat! what the hell happened?{#Cry}{#Ask}
 
 I think they jumped the shark with "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" (but I like this album)

can someone please tell me what the hell the chorus is of this song?
Have never, for the life of me, had any idea...
The real shizzzzzz.........
nice madeira vine infestation...............



Love it...


this song means a lot to me.
Pure soul music: the first alt rock song I fell in love with... I still remember the rainy afternoon I first heard it, over two decades ago.  Radio Paradise, you are the best.  I wish I could listen to your gorgeous music twenty four hours a day... 

Wonderful song and a great album
 2 thumbs up
thanks Bill
 AphidA wrote:
Hey!  This is back when R.E.M. was good.
 
true dat! what the hell happened?{#Cry}{#Ask}

Hey!  This is back when R.E.M. was good.
this is one of the very few perfect albums.
Well, I felt pretty bad not getting into REM until three years after this was released. It still amazes me to this day. Micheal's voice is so subtle and the whole song kinda grabs you by surprise and never lets you go. The whole album is so pure, kinda like U2 Boy or Lou Reed's Rock n Roll Animal (or Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars). Sometimes perfection is achieved in innocence. This album is the perfect example of this innocence. And Brilliance.
Possibly my favorite REM song. Perfect Circle = perfect song.
coloradojohn wrote:
...The haunting piano, the repetition that is hypnotic instead of annoying,...
I think you got "hypnotic" and "annoying" backwards there.
NO PLEASE! Not REM again! Mute + puke :puke:
Love this.
jtdiver wrote:
One of the best albums of the 1980s.
:yes: :notworthy: What a nice surprise this morning to hear this off-hit song. :bounce:
One of the best albums of the 1980s.
Off key, as he often is. Why is that so appealing? This is not to say that they haven't had some great tunes.
gotdam kudzu...
Stipe has a voice that makes him sound both longing and detached at the same time. Unique.
bokey wrote:
In an honest effort to try to understand why people listen to REM when they aren't in jail and it's the only thing playing,I listened to this album a month or so ago(twice!!!).This is the best song on it IMO. I'll give it a 6, approaching the all time top REM rating of 7.
Whew...the members of R.E.M. can sleep in peace tonight, having earned the tacit approval of "bokey" at long last. Rest well, boys, rest well.
I listened to this album a month or so ago and this is the best song on it IMO.
coloradojohn wrote:
Wasn't this -- and isn't it still -- just AWESOME stuff? The haunting piano, the repetition that is hypnotic instead of annoying, the whole layered, textured thing of beauty that it is...More of this album anytime, Bill, please!
beautifully put....