I know a lot of people my age who might have turned out a bit differently if R.E.M. hadn't been so damned depressing. Considering its 1991 breakthrough album "Out of Time" sold more than 4.5 million records in the United States (and 18 million worldwide), the band's cumulative effect on an entire generation of moody Gen-X'ers can scarcely be overestimated.
Perhaps the moral, political and emotional torpor of turn-of-the-millennium liberals wouldn't have been so abject. Perhaps they would have protested a little louder about the stolen 2000 election, the Iraq War or James Blunt? (Never mind: R.E.M. is probably precisely to blame for James Blunt.)
The world will never know.
But thanks to the new media artists over at MajorScaled TV, the world can at least imagine what a cheerier R.E.M. might have sounded like. In a video called "Recovering My Religion," the anonymous artist(s) have taken R.E.M.'s smash, early 90's single "Losing My Religion" and transposed every minor key note on every instrument and vocal track into the major key.
MajorScaled TV has earned attention with similar projects before, putting the Doors’ equally moody “Riders on the Storm” into the major key as well as Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” (though slightly less convincingly). How they do it is anybody’s guess. The good folks over at ANIMAL (hat tip) guess the artists may have been Melodyne or an Echo Nest API.
Whatever was used, the results are phenomenal and nearly flawless.