My Top 1000 Songs #126: Disturbance At The Heron House
But the tune that's really become the centerpiece for me, and which would still be a mandatory inclusion on every mixtape (were I still making mixtapes), is "Disturbance At The Heron House." It's got a killer guitar riff, arguably Peter Buck's most memorable; and walks that fine line between humble jangle and booming arena-ready anthem. Bassist Mike Mills provides some great harmonies (that Stipe & Mills offsetting "head for home" near the song's end is one of those truly magical musical moments that seems both casually tossed off and perfectly planned). And Stipe's cryptic lyrics seem to capture the Reagan-era malaise less directly but no less effectively than "Exhuming." (There's a cool explanation of the song's meaning here.)Live in 2008:Acoustic live in 1991:
A few years later, Uncle Tupelo seemed to repurpose the riff for "Grindstone" (on a 1992 album produced by Buck), and I've always enjoyed the linkage between the two.