R.E.M. – Perfect Circle

REM - R.E.M. - Perfect Circle

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R.E.M. - Perfect Circle


"Perfect Circle" is a song by American rock band R.E.M. and is the 6th track from their 1983 debut album Murmur.


Like many songs from Murmur, "Perfect Circle" has a sound typified by unusual instruments and recording techniques. The song opens with Honky tonk piano, a style more associated with ragtime and early country music than the college rock scene of which R.E.M. was a member. Two pianos were recorded, and the slightly out-of-sync sound and reverb achieve a detached otherworldly effect. The song also features Peter Buck's 12 string guitar.

After R.E.M.'s drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997 for personal reasons, the band began reintroducing "Perfect Circle" into their live performances and radio appearances to promote their then forthcoming album Up. During this time period, members of the band stated that the song was primarily written by Berry and dedicated their performance of it to him.


The lyrics of "Perfect Circle" are purposely opaque. Members of the band agree that the song has an emotional theme that can be interpreted in many ways. For guitarist Peter Buck, the song elicits images of children playing football one evening in Trenton, New Jersey.

Singer Michael Stipe interprets the song as being about longing in a relationship. He also has stated that other interpretations are equally valid:

"It was an intensely personal song to me. I really like that it can mean two different things. ... It's the exact same feeling, but the details are different."


Murmur è il primo LP dei R.E.M., primo album discografico del gruppo statunitense.


È stato pubblicato nel 1983 ed è ancora considerato come una delle pietre miliari dell'alternative rock degli anni ottanta, nonché uno dei migliori album del gruppo. Fu eletto disco dell'anno dalla rivista Rolling Stone, davanti a War degli U2, Thriller di Michael Jackson e Synchronicity dei Police.

Ad oggi insieme al successivo album Reckoning è considerato uno dei migliori album degli anni ottanta grazie ai singoli di successo Radio Free Europe e Talk About the Passion. Il disco è stato inserito al diciottesimo posto nella lista dei 100 migliori album di debutto secondo Rolling Stone.


R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and lead vocalist Michael Stipe.

One of the first alternative rock bands, R.E.M. was noted for Buck's ringing, arpeggiated guitar style, Stipe's distinctive vocal quality and obscure lyrics, Mills's melodic basslines and backing vocals, and Berry's tight, economical style of drumming. R.E.M. released its first single—"Radio Free Europe"—in 1981 on the independent record label Hib-Tone.

The single was followed by the Chronic Town EP in 1982, the band's first release on I.R.S. Records. In 1983, the group released its critically acclaimed debut album, Murmur, and built its reputation over the next few years through subsequent releases, constant touring, and the support of college radio. Following years of underground success, R.E.M. achieved a mainstream hit in 1987 with the single "The One I Love".

The group signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1988, and began to espouse political and environmental concerns while playing large arenas worldwide.


By the early 1990s, when alternative rock began to enter the mainstream, R.E.M. was viewed by subsequent acts such as Nirvana and Pavement as a pioneer of the genre. The band released its two most commercially successful albums, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), which veered from the band's established sound and catapulted it to international fame.

R.E.M.'s 1994 release, Monster, was a return to a more rock-oriented sound, but still continued its run of success. The band began its first tour in six years to support the album; the tour was marred by medical emergencies suffered by three of the band members.

In 1996, R.E.M. re-signed with Warner Bros. for a reported US$80 million, at the time the most expensive recording contract in history. Its 1996 release, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, though critically acclaimed, fared worse commercially than its predecessors. The following year, Bill Berry left the band, while Stipe, Buck, and Mills continued the group as a trio.


Through some changes in musical style, the band continued its career into the next decade with mixed critical and commercial success, despite having sold more than 85 million records worldwide and becoming one of the world's best-selling music artists. In 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in their first year of eligibility. R.E.M. disbanded amicably in September 2011, announcing the split on its website.


I R.E.M. sono stati un gruppo rock statunitense attivo dal 1980 al 2011.

Formatosi ad Athens (Georgia) il 5 aprile 1980 (data riconosciuta dalla stessa band come atto di fondazione vera e propria del gruppo, che provava assieme sotto diversi nomi già dal 1979), la sigla R.E.M. sta per rapid eye movement, la fase del sonno in cui si sogna. La pronuncia inglese è lettera per lettera (/ɑːr-iː-ɛm/), ma in italiano viene generalmente pronunciata come acronimo ("rèm", /rɛm/).

Nell'arco degli ultimi 25 anni, i R.E.M. sono stati riconosciuti come uno dei gruppi più importanti per la definizione dell'estetica della musica underground e indie degli Stati Uniti. La loro influenza, infatti, si estende ancora oggi su moltissime formazioni, etichette e scene musicali.

Il gruppo ha virtualmente definito l'espressione "rock alternativo" degli anni ottanta (college rock), dimostrando alle stazioni radio, un po' alla volta, che trasmettere brani con prevalente uso delle chitarre non era una cosa negativa.



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 (x3)

Pull your dress on and stay real close
Who might leave you where I let off?
A perfect circle of acquaintances and friends
Drink another, coin a phrase
Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the room (x3)

Try to win and suit your needs
Speak out sometimes but try to win
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room (x5)


Tirati indietro i capelli, stiamo partendo
11 forche sulla tua manica
Figura superficiale, il vincitore e' pagato
11 ombre decisamente fuori posto
In piedi troppo presto, spalle alte nella stanza (x3)

Mettiti il vestito e stammi vicina vicina
Chi puo' lasciarti dove ho smesso io?
Un gruppo perfetto di conoscenti e amici
Bevine un altro, crea una frase arguta
Assunto al Paradiso, spalle alte nella stanza (x3)

Cerca di vincere e fare come ti fa comodo
Parla ogni tanto ma cerca di vincere
In piedi troppo presto, spalle alte nella stanza (x5)


Live 1998

Jools Holland

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