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File Under Momentum
“Pilgrimage” just might be my favorite R.E.M. song.
One of my sillier rules is that the second song on an album is the one that tells you exactly how great that album is going to be. Anybody can do a killer lead-off track, but if the second track is as good or even better, then you know that it’s time to dig in and enjoy the record. And I defy you to come up with a second song on an any album that’s any better than “Pilgrimage.” I guess maybe “Bargain,” or “Sway.” Maybe.
Though ironically, it was probably one of the weird, slower songs that initially put me off that first time I listened to Murmur, which is, of course totally and completely insane in hindsight, because “Pilgrimage” is clearly an absolute fucking masterpiece, an object lesson in both dynamics and vocal arrangements.