Although R.E.M. split up in 2011, their legacy continues to live on with a 25th anniversary re-release of the bands iconic 1994 album Monster. The former band announced on September 4th, their plan to re-release Monster along with a new re-mix version of the album, which is exciting news for R.E.M. Michael Stipe is one of my favorite song writers. In honor of the new release I’m going to share my favorite R.E.M. songs that not enough people know about.
Strange Currencies is the sixth song of R.E.M.’s Monster, one of the songs that will be included on the re-release. Strange currencies is a hauntly beautiful song, some have interpreted about unrequited love and others as bagging for a second chance. The song’s title comes from the lyrics “ you know with love comes strange currencies”, which is my favorite lyric in the song. I love this song because I think it is a song that everyone can relate to in some way, and in my opinion that is what makes the best songs.
Leaving New York
Leaving New York was the first single off of R.E.M.’s 2004 album Around the Sun.By this time R.E.M. was not as relevant in the popular music scene and did not gain as much attention as they had previously in their career. Leaving New York is one of R.E.M.’s slower songs. The song has been interpreted in many ways. At first glance the song seems to be about someone coming to terms with the fact that they need to leave a relationship and get a fresh start somewhere else. However, lyricist Michael Stipe has also commented on how it was a tribute to his favorite city and how he watched it change after the September 11th attacks. Anyway you want to see it, Leaving New York is a sad but beautifully written song.
Find the River
Find the River is the Final track on R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People, and another slow song. Find the river is about reflecting on life and following your own path. The song is sung from the perspective of an older person speaking to a young person. The old person explains how life is short and reflects on their own lifetime and what they could have done differently. Encourage the young person to take their own path and enjoy life before it passes them by. I love this song because although sad, it has a great message to share with younger generations.
Daysleeper is the eleventh song off of R.E.M.’s Up. This song is the perfect example of why my favorite song writer. The song is simply about a person who works a night shift, and how they perceive the world from being awake at night. I love how Stipe was able to take something simple, a night shift, and really dig into and complexify it.
At my Most Beautiful At my most beautiful is the fifth song off of Up. The song is a love song with a simple message, I the narrator is at their most beautiful when their with the one they love. The narrator recalls the little thing his partner does that makes him love them. It’s a simple, yet beautifully done love song.