7. R.E.M. – Out of Time

cd cover 7. R.E.M. – Out of Time

It would appear sleep will not be joining me for a while… Which is fine, i guess, I haven’t really had time to write recently. So on with the show: The scary thing is that this album almost didn’t make the list… That would’ve been wrong… but one of my rules was that I had to like every song on the album… and I don’t like “Radio Song“… But at one point I did… so I did “like” it, so it still counts. (Nevertheless, it did hurt it’s standing a bit… it prolly coulda been a top 3)

Okay, this is R.E.M… my favorite band since I discovered that they sang 2 songs I very much liked (The theme to “Get a Life” [Stand] and the “End of the World” song that they played on the radio forever that one day [It’s the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine]). Anyway, this is R.E.M.’s first appearance on the countdown, and I must say I restrained myself from putting at least 5 or 6 of them in the top 25…. So why this album? First and foremost, the songs on this album are incredible.. they just are. They’re a different sound to each of them.. The lyrics and tone stir up different emotions. But they all weave together fairly nicely. Now add to that that significance/memories/connection that I, personally, attached to this album, and these songs, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

I already mention that I don’t much care for Radio Song. It’s okay, and I can listen to it and all that… It just doesn’t do much for me… but when I first got the album, it was one of 3 songs I’d play (Tracks 1, 2, and 6). So I won’t say all that much about this song, cause I want to get to the next one.

Losing My Religion is one of my favorite songs ever. Many, many times I’ve said it’s my absolute favorite song, and many times it still is. This is partly because of what the song is about, and partly because of what the song represents for me, and partly because the song is simply so enjoyable to listen to that I can’t imagine ever not wanting to hear it. [And I also love the video]. So what is the song about? Well I’ll tell you

“Losing my religion”, according to Michael Stipe, is a southern expression. The idea is something like this: It means when there’s something you want so bad, you’re willing to sacrifice everything else that exists in order to get/achieve it. This thing is so important that you’d be willing to give up your religion In the words of Stipe during the VH1 Storytellers, it’s when “something has pushed you so far that you would lose your faith for it.. it’s pushed you to the nth degree”. So we’ve got that part down. So what is the song about? When you have a crush on someone, and you’re afraid.. and you want to find out if they like you, and you desperately want them to know that you like them, but you just can’t… And so you’re subtly dropping hints, and you’re certain each time that you’ve gone too far, and you’ve ruined everything… or you lay out these hints, and the person responds in a way you didn’t expect, or don’t understand… and so there’s this constant struggle inside your head to 1.) figure out what you have to do to get this person to notice you, and 2.) figure out what that person is thinking based on their actions/reactions… and it’s all just too much for you, and you’ve got this crush so bad that you’d give anything in this world for it.. That’s what this song is about. Take a look Essentially, it’s about having a crush, and being afraid that every hint or action you take is too much, and that you’re going to ruin everything… but you are just so overwhelmed that you’ve got to do something. I adore this song.

Low is a slow, sad, sombre song about love that sounds more like a dirge than a love song to me.Love is no longer something to be sought out for happiness, but something necessary for survival.

Near Wild Heaven takes the love theme, and adds to it the idea of imperfection.. Okay, so you’re in the relationship now.. but things aren’t/life isn’t perfect. “There’s a feeling that’s gone. Something had gone wrong, and I don’t know how much longer I can take it.”..

Endgame is an instrumental that is quite fun to play, and mellow and relaxing to listen to.

Shiny Happy People… I can’t tell if it’s a sarcastic mock of bubblegum pop or a true celebration of exuberance with a slight twinge (“there’s no time to cry. Happy, happy.”) It annoys the hell out of some people, but I still like listening to it.

I’m still not certain what Belong is about, exactly. But I like to think it’s about, well… “belonging.”

Half a World Away is another excellent song. This time about loneliness. We’ve gone from unrequited love, to needing love for survival, to finally getting love, and it not being enough.. We’ve celebrated the joys of life, and felt the importance of belonging… but now, we’re all alone… traveling through life without a love just seems empty.

Texarkana is another great song that’s just a joy to listen to. This one I believe to be about the struggle (in keeping with the theme I’ve drawn up for the album, I’d call it the struggle to make a relationship work, or to get it started in the first place…. I think the idea is that he’s struggling to figure out what he’s supposed to be doing in life, and figuring that out is the biggest part of the struggle. He needs that other person to “catch me when I fall”… Then the realization “All alone, waiting to fall.”

I’ve said pretty much all I can say about Country Feedback. It’s a song about breakup and blame, and it’s my 2nd favorite song on the album.

Me in Honey. I think this song is about pregnancy, or having a kid with a woman, or being messed up, and in a relationship with a girl you have a kid with. Something like that.

So there you have it. One of R.E.M.’s best, if you ask me.

4 thoughts on “7. R.E.M. – Out of Time

  1. I’ve never been overly impressed with _Out of Time_, preferring _Automatic for the People_ and _Eponymous_. (Yes, I’m a poseur for liking a best-of album.) However, Andrew (my 9-year-old) has been playing it every night on repeat, all night (and sometimes all day when he forgets to turn it off). And I have to say, it’s growing on me.

    Looking forward to seeing if any further REM makes it into your list…

  2. If you are an Eponymous fan, I’d be interested in your impressions of Lifes Rich Pageant and Document… I consider those two to be the best albums of their IRS days (pre-Green) Plus, the last 4 songs on Eponymous are from these albums.

  3. [this post was emailed to me]

    I found your site by sheer coincidence while, this morning, looking for
    the complete ignoreland lyrics. I really enjoyed your top 25, and agree
    with almost every choice – except omitting New Adventures in Hi Fi.
    I read your notes on country feedback, tried to post a comment but
    something didn’t work so I’m sending it here.

    “a bone in your hand”
    rather than a reference to the primitive and basic ideas of bones
    (cavemen, I suppose you were thinking of), doesn’t it maybe refer to the bones you give dogs as cheer-ups or rewards for behaving?

    those four verses always struck me as some kind of progression
    in the attemps the partner makes at saving the relationship from
    crumbling:

    first, with some kind of condescending presents or even with
    attitudes which are somewath not spontaneus but which he thinks are very welcome from the partner; (dog bone)

    then by trying to make oneself more attractive and desirable, all
    made up to resurrect the partner’s desire (hair curled tight);

    then with the somewhat obvious sexual aspect of “positions”, the
    last attempt is the purely erotical one, it might be a try at “ok,
    things between you and me aren’t working out that well, but maybe we
    could find a deeper intimacy at least on the physical level”

    and, at last, excuses, apologies, after ending abruptly and
    cowardly a tedious argument (“ducked out in a row; you wear me out”)

    very sad, and, unfortunately, oh so true

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