Battle of the Bands: Losing My Religion by R.E.M. #BOTB

It’s June 1st and in another 30 days 2017 will be half over already! But let’s stop the clock for a minute or two and groove on another Battle of the Bands. My battle today features R.E.M.’s 1991 hit Losing My Religion

“Losing My Religion” is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. The song was released as the first single from the group’s 1991 album Out of Time. Built on a mandolin riff, “Losing My Religion” was an unlikely hit for the group, garnering heavy airplay on radio as well as on MTV due to its critically acclaimed music video. The song became R.E.M.’s highest-charting hit in the United States, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and expanding the group’s popularity beyond its original fanbase. It was nominated for several Grammy Awards, and won two for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Short Form Music Video.

Interesting tidbit: About the lyrics, and in particular the song title: “In the song, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe sings the lines “That’s me in the corner/That’s me in the spotlight/Losing my religion”. The phrase “losing my religion” is an expression from the southern region of the United States that means losing one’s temper or civility, or “being at the end of one’s rope.” Stipe told The New York Times the song was about romantic expression. He told Q that “Losing My Religion” is about “someone who pines for someone else. It’s unrequited love, what have you.” Stipe compared the song’s theme to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, saying, “It’s just a classic obsession pop song. I’ve always felt the best kinds of songs are the ones where anybody can listen to it, put themselves in it and say, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’

That was pretty cool: I never really understood what the song lyric “losing my religion” meant or to what it referred. I had no idea it was a southern expression!

The music video for “Losing My Religion” was directed by Tarsem Singh. This battle actually came to me after researching the Pepsi commercial featured in Mike Spain’s May 15th Battle (using Queen’s We Will Rock You song). I hadn’t seen the commercial before and wondered when it was produced. It led me to discover Director Tarsem Singh’s works, one of them being the award-winning R.E.M. music video for Losing My Religion. More specifically, “the music video was nominated in nine categories at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. The video won six awards, including Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Art Direction, Best Direction, and Best Editing. “Losing My Religion” also ranked second in the music video category of the 1991 Pazz & Jop poll.” (Source: Wikipedia)

I love this song! This is the R.E.M. official music video. But don’t vote for this version! This is for your enjoyment only. TURN IT UP!

 

THE BATTLE

Contender #1:  PASSENGER

Michael David Rosenberg (born 17 May 1984), better known by his stage name Passenger, is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Previously the main vocalist and songwriter of Passenger, Rosenberg opted to keep the band’s name for his solo work after the band dissolved in 2009. His most successful single, “Let Her Go”, has topped the charts in many countries. In 2014, the song was nominated for the Brit Award for British Single of the Year, and he received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work.

Passenger just came through my town last month, Austin TX, on his North American Tour. About Austin he said, “One of the tour highlights without a doubt. What a fun town and the bbq was outstanding as ever 😉 thanks to everyone at Stubb’s Austin for the amazing hospitality !!!!”

Austin is such a cool town! And Stubbs is this really awesome outdoor venue downtown that hosts so many brilliant bands. I’ve been to several events at Stubbs: Great music, great barbecue and cold beer on a gorgeous spring evening: Ah, it just doesn’t get any better…  (And Stubbs Bar-B-Q Sauce is THE BEST (and it’s the only brand I buy! I purchase it at my local grocery store but you can buy it at amazon as well. Try it, you’ll like it!). Unfortunately, I did not attend the Passenger concert last month.

Here is his cover of Losing My Religion:

 

Contender #2:  JACQUI NAYLOR

About Jacqui Naylor, Jazz Times writes: “Jacqui Naylor is the new voice of jazz-pop.”

“In the never-ending “next big thing” sweepstakes, bet on Jacqui Naylor to be a frontrunner. She bears a striking resemblance to Diana Krall and echos the Canadian diva’s roundly rich sound. Naylor’s voice suggests, though, a slightly deeper sensuality and is charged with a strong jolt of Norah Jones’ folk-jazz electricity. Her originals are Joni Mitchell good.”

On Jacqui Naylor’s site, her biography states: “Jacqui Naylor is not an easy artist to categorize. There are times when she performs straight-ahead vocal jazz, but at other times she favors more of a folk-rock/adult alternative approach. Depending on the mood she is in at a given moment, the northern Californian can bring to mind anyone from Cassandra Wilson or British jazz vocalist Claire Martin to Sarah McLachlan or Shawn Colvin — she is as comfortable among jazz improvisers as she is in the singer/songwriter world. During one of her live performances, Naylor has no problem singing smoky jazz one minute and folk-rock or adult alternative the next — and there are times when she blurs the line between the two…”

This performance is Live at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle WA:

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

 

Thanks for your participation! I’ll be back in six days to post the results…

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20 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands: Losing My Religion by R.E.M. #BOTB

  1. I’ve always liked this song. I gave that REM album a lot of play.

    I liked the sound of the version by Passenger. It’s a straightforward cover of the original though I think this group does it better. Great listening!.

    Naylor gives the song a nice laid back touch. Maybe at the right time I might pick this over the other version, but right now for me I’ve got to go with Passenger.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • First vote of the day goes to Passenger. And I’m surprised that, you being such a fan of R.E.M.’s version, would find Passenger’s version to be even better than the original. Interesting. I do like Passenger’s sound for sure.

      Thanks for your vote!

      Like

    • Hey Cathy.
      Thanks for stopping by. Your casting the first vote for Jacqui Naylor today. I really enjoyed learning more about her in putting this battle together. Very talented she is. Glad you liked her version. Thanks for getting her in the game here… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. REM makes beautiful, haunting music and that’s a favourite of mine. Thanks for sharing what ‘losing my religion’ means; I didn’t know either. Austin sounds like a great place for music, similar to Toronto. 🙂 Passenger sticks close to the original and I’m voting for him because of that, although I did enjoy Jacqui’s vocals. She definitely sounds a lot like Diana Krall.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great song choice again – love this and was a bit worried about listening to others singing it. My vote has to go to Passenger as I really like his voice and it’s quite similar to the original. Naylor’s version is just a bit too jazzy for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pamela.
      Thanks for stopping by. Passenger really does a great job with this song. I sure wish I would’ve seen him when he was here last month. Hopefully he and his band will swing back through…
      Thanks for your vote!

      Like

  4. All right! I finally know what “losing my religion” means, and it makes sense. I like REM so much that I have to vote for Passenger. Jacqui Naylor’s version is so slow that it doesn’t seem “right” to me–it’s a completely different song.

    Love,
    Janie

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still don’t know that “losing my religion” is a phrase that i quite understand yet. I mean I know now what it means but it still doesn’t make sense to me. 🙂
      Another vote for Passenger.
      Thanks Janie!

      Like

  5. Major kudos, MICHELE, on all the research and backstory. I didn’t have a religion… until I found one, and once I found it, I never lost it.
    [;^)}

    Very interesting Fun Facts about the expression. I was not familiar with it and its Southern roots.

    Dang, that Naylor gal really does look a lot like Diana Krall. Unfortunately, her singing — at least in THIS particular song — also krawls. (John’s remark about her singing the lines as she remembered them totally cracked me up. That was one of BOTB’s “greatest hits”. Ha! …I’m literally STILL laughing-out-loud as I type these words.)

    Like so many others here, my vote rides with PASSENGER. It wasn’t much of a departure from the original recording, but it was well done and didn’t lose the rhythm to a mild case of amnesia.

    BTW, I got your E and will reply soon’z I can. Been sick with a nasty-assed chest cold, but your E is still in my InBox.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews…

    Liked by 1 person

    • found ya! Thanks for the alert.
      And thanks for your kind comment!
      That was a funny remark by John, for sure.
      Looks like Passenger is definitely running away with this one. But at least Jacqui has received one vote so far…so no shutout. 🙂

      Hey, get to feelin’ better! Lots of rest. If it were still back in the day, I’d recommend what I used to do when I had a nasty cold: I was young and a party-animal so I definitely didn’t stay home, but what I did do and found to be quite effective was to do shots of Nyquil in between beers. But this was back when Nyquil gave a buzz. They took the good shit out of it so now it sucks… 😉 Those were the days…Nothin’ kept me down! oh boy…

      Like

      • I may be Heinz-57, but I still refuse to drink anything that doesn’t provide a buzz. (That’s just a waste of money!)

        BTW, I’ve never had “Stubbs'” barbecue sauce, but I DO like the “Stubbs'” liquid smoke. I put liquid smoke on lots of stuffs. Even in my “Bloody Beers” (aka “Micheladas”).

        ~ D-FensDogG
        ‘Loyal American Underground’

        Like

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