The song and the why

Simply meant, a song and the explanation of why. Remember this is personal, and it’s going down in your records.

I’ll start:

Seven Chinese Bros.

I’m one of the few who likes the album version and NOT the Dead Letter Office one [avoids flying objects] I just get a visual of this boy listening to his grandma tell a story. And, at least, the first few IRS albums…they seemed like a collection of folkish short stories, rather than individual songs, as most pop is, or albums that are more like novels (most of Pink Floyd and Kid A by Radiohead)

All of that and the “ding ding” of the piano at he end of the chorus. :smile:

4 Likes

I also prefer “Seven Chinese Brothers” to “Voice of Harold” but I don’t dislike the latter by any stretch. Maybe it’s because I heard “Seven Chinese Brothers” first. To me, “Voice of Harold” is a fine example of quirky, off the cuff R.E.M. What happens when they don’t realize (or forget) the tape is rolling.

2 Likes

Oh. I don’t hate it. It’s just a preference thing.

1 Like

“Gardening at Night.” All of the officially released versions of it I’ve ever heard: live, slow, fast, acoustic, electric, Chronic Town version, and the Different Vocal Mix version (I prefer this over the Chronic Town version). The “why” I’m not so good at. Maybe that even after reading what apparently inspired it, that still doesn’t register with me whenever I listen to it. It still has that mysterious quality to it that I so strongly associate with early R.E.M. and why I will forever and always prefer that era of their work. There is also just something about the lyrics, especially, “we ankled up the garbage sound” or if that is even what he is singing. Not on any officially released recordings of it but this is my favorite performance of it on YouTube.

3 Likes

I Took Your Name

It took seeing Road Movie to appreciate the energy of this song. How Peter and Michael just kinda groove at the beginning and how on each chorus Michael puts his hand above every member, when he sings,“If there is some confusion of who’s to blame.” That and that song is super sexy with swagger. I always liked it. Circus Envy will always be my favorite off of Monster, but this one is a close second.

3 Likes

Nice thread idea! :smiley:

Country Feedback - probably because to me it feels like the closest thing we’ll ever get to Peter channelling Dave Gilmour.

4 Likes

I’d never thought of it that way before re: Gilmour, but I agree! I remember hearing it live, and when they got to “crazy what you could’ve had,” I exchanged a look with the friend I was with and we both began to cry.

1 Like

I can’t mention this next one enough:

Leave

As any of you who have been on Facebook R.E.M. groups your probably tired of me talking about this one…

In 1995 I attempted suicide. I was in the psych ward for a week. The next year New Adventures in Hi-Fi came out. I was listening to song #6. I thought wow this is a pretty decent instrumental.

And then the siren kicked in…

When he got to the verse…I lost it.
“Lost myself in sorrow. Lost myself in pain. Lost myself in gravity. Leave. Leave
Leave. That’s what keeps me. That’s what keeps me. That’s what keeps me down. Said I’m a bantam light weight. Said I’m a phantom airplane that never left the ground.” I got on air at the local radio station and he said they only play singles.

That was the last day I listened to the radio. I’m serious, only if I’m in somebody’s car… do I make an exception.

Anyway, I digress, this is not only my favorite R.E.M. song…it’s my favorite song of all time. Period.

10 Likes

Great and very relatable story there, man. Thank you. I wrote a few lyrics about depression myself, and two of them have become songs already, so I truly know where you’re coming from.

And I share your love for “Leave”, my favorite R.E.M. song and one of my top10 desert island songs of all time.

1 Like

Feeling Gravitys Pull, because it has everything that makes R.E.M. unique.

4 Likes

Harborcoat. Quintessential. That is all.

5 Likes

So Fast, So Numb

Probably, my second favorite song off of NAIHF. It’s just kind of fun. I love the little acoustic part in the middle. I had Jesse Motorboy, as a name, back in the day…way back.

5 Likes

He gets close again on the live improv at the end of “She Just Wants to Be” too.

1 Like

Life and How to Live It

I put it in the top 5 of R.E.M. guitar intros. I don’t know know half of what Michael is fucking singing or if it makes any sense, but it feels sincere. Oddly enough, I think of Fight Club when I think of this song. The scene where Brad Pitt is riding a tricycle around a bunch of pamphlets in a dilapidated house. I have no fucking clue why. :sweat_smile:

5 Likes

You

I feel like I need a shower after this song, it’s so grimy. :yum: Seriously though, this is one of their proper ending songs. It bookends What’s the Frequency Kenneth? quite well. It took a while for this song to hit with me. It has a very spooky main character, obsessive ten times the character in Losing My Religions protagonist. However, this character is more obsessed with sex and not unrequited “love”.

2 Likes

Low Desert.
The images that the lyrics conjure up. Crystal clear in my head. And matching the music perfectly.

2 Likes

Agreed. Low Desert is another one that took a while to hook me, but once it did, it was on the faves list of New Adventures in Hi-Fi. Mikes slapbass really kicks this song into overdrive.

2 Likes

I agree, this is such a badass opener.

Yes. Love the bass!

1 Like

Belong

It gives me chills every time - those harmonies. I also like to envision the mother and her son, snuggling and comforting.

1 Like