So, more nostalgia from me this morning: another one of my favorite bands. I first heard R.E.M.’s “Don’t Go Back To Rockville” in the early 1980s and immediately became a fan. (that link goes to a cool acoustic version I hadn’t heard or seen before–I love you, internet) They were one of my musical obsessions up through their album Life’s Rich Pageant. Then they went in a different direction (meaning, among other things: it became way easier to figure out what Stipe was singing1), and I turned into one of those fans who loved R.E.M. “before they sucked.” They just weren’t doing it for me anymore, although I still loved Michael Stipe’s voice.
Then 2008 came around and so did Accelerate; the band got my attention again. Accelerate turned out to be one of my favorite albums of that year. It felt more fun and more energetic than anything they’d done in a long time. They followed that one up with Collapse Until Now in 2011, which I didn’t like as much, but it was still pretty decent. “Hey, they’re doing stuff I like again!” I thought, but then the sad news came. A few months after Collapse Until Now‘s release, the band called it a day.
I admit it. I cried.
Anyway, this song popped up on shuffle on Saturday, and I decided to share it with you. It’s one of my favorites on the last album (how could it not be? R.E.M.+Patti Smith=Awesome) with Stipe’s poetry jumping out of his mouth like fireworks and Smith’s luscious voice weaving through the music. I love it, and it seems seriously appropriate as one of their last songs. Had no idea it was about River Phoenix, though, until I saw the video. I hope you like it, too.
1. For example, I still think Stipe is singing “memory kind of sky” instead of “Man Ray kind of sky” in “Feeling Gravity’s Pull,” regardless of what the published lyrics have to say about it. (you get “Harborcoat” in that link, too. A two-fer!)