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!
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: