Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Allow me to add some personal context to this post. I had a bad day, to quote the R.E.M. song.  I heard that a dear friend of mine passed away after a long battle with cancer.  I was leaving the office early anyway, to go to yet another follow up appointment with a doctor (some readers know that I barely posted in September due to a hospital stay - I'm better now).

The CD playing in my car was Neil Young & Crazy Horse's classic Ragged Glory. It blew my mind when it came out in 1990, I love it to this day, but it wasn't hitting the spot. And my late friend hated to curse, so I wasn't in the mood for "Fuckin' Up." This is rare for me, but I just shut off the stereo and listened to the sounds of my car. Most of what I had on me - Fugazi, Bad Brains, Soundgarden, the I'm Not There soundtrack, Raekwon - wasn't appealing to me at that moment.

I started humming something, and I realized it was one of the new R.E.M. songs.  One of their final ones, "We All Go Back To Where We Belong." I couldn't really remember the words, other than the chorus.  I wanted R.E.M.   So, I stopped at a big box retailer and picked up the new R.E.M. best of, Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011,  because I needed that music NOW.  It was a pretty old school moment. Go to the (record) store to pick up the music you need to hear at that moment.

Most fans would prefer disc 1, as the collection is in chronological order and disc 1 features their earliest material from their I.R.S. Records era.  But I needed disc 2, the Automatic For The People/ New Adventures In Hi-Fi stuff. However, I started right with track 18, "We All Go Back To Where We Belong."  The horns that sound like they were arranged by Bacharach. Michael Stipe's lyrics, unusually clear.  The song sounds like it is about the end of a relationship with a lover, but you can't help but to feel that it's about the band. Looked at from a wider point of view, it's about something that's ending.  Sometimes you can fight it. Sometimes you just have to accept it. It doesn't exactly fit the situation, but it comes close enough.

The other two new songs are pretty good, and of course the rest of the two CD is filled with classics (mostly). But I'm glad they were able to add one last classic to their long list of them. I'm grateful that they gave me the experience of hearing the right song at the right time and making me feel just a little bit better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article. It gave me some insight into the inner you.