Ten on Tuesday: R.E.M.

I’ve come across two different lists today of favorite R.E.M. songs — the first, on Paste magazine’s List of the Day blog, and the second in response to it on USA Today’s Pop Candy blog. As I read them, I realized two things: I have strong opinions as to what would make my list, and I wanted to listen to R.E.M. rightnow.

And so I am.

I went into my iTunes and pulled together a quick playlist of all the songs that made me think “oh, that’s definitely on my list.” There were 14. I’m cutting two — Pale Blue Eyes and King of the Road — for being covers; now I just have to decide which other two don’t measure up. (As an aside, I almost named this blog “Pale Blue Eyes” after that song. Probably should have.)

10. It’s the End of the World as We Know it (And I Feel Fine) – One of the most fun songs ever to sing along to. “LEONARD BERNSTEIN!”

9. So Central Rain – I don’t know what this song is about. I never have. But I like it anyway.

8. King of Birds – Another song I don’t understand, but still love. “Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold…”

7. E-bow the Letter – I first heard this song when I was on vacation in Ireland with Sionna, and bought the CD in Dublin. It’s a really mellow, moody song (“I wear my own crown of sadness and sorrow…”) but it nevertheless reminds me of that trip, which was anything but melancholy.

6. Strange Currencies – One of my favorite opening lines: “I don’t know why you’re mean to me when I call on the telephone…” So banal, yet it works.

5. Try Not to Breathe – This song for me completely captures the feeling of profound loss. “I want you to remember… I have seen things you will never see…”

4. Nightswimming – Ah, nostalgia for the carefree days of youth. “The photograph reflects, every streetlight a reminder…”

3. Find the River – I listened to this song about 20 times a day when I was planning my move away from Albany. “I’ve got to leave to find my way…”

2. Half a World Away – A sad, beautiful alt-country ballad. “My hands are tired, my heart aches from half a world away…”

1. You Are the Everything – This is tied for my all-time favorite love song. “I look at her and I see the beauty of the line of music…”

Have at it in the comments. I know at least one of you will have a list of your own…

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By the way… I stole the title from Hillary, who does a “Ten on Tuesday” list weekly on her blog. I’ve been considering it for a while, so consider this the inaugural post of a new regular feature. If you have any ideas for future lists, leave them in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Ten on Tuesday: R.E.M.

  1. Common Loon July 28, 2009 / 5:58 pm

    I’ll go with #10 (should be #1), #5, #4…and am sad you didn’t have “Fall On Me,” “Man on the Moon,” “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville,” or “What’s the Frequency Kenneth.” Not that I am adverse to the others on your list…you did have to draw the line somewhere.

  2. Rudi July 29, 2009 / 10:21 am

    Let’s see… R.E.M. I have such a hit-or-miss relationship with them.

    A list, in no particular order (very Stipe-like in that regard):

    1. “Turn You Inside Out.” This song really fires me up – love it!

    2. “Fall On Me.” Granted, I listen to the cover of this song by Cry, Cry, Cry as often as I listen to the original.

    3. “Bad Day.” Yes, it’s the fraternal twin to “It’s The End Of The World…”, but it’s a fun song with a fun video.

    4. “Everybody Hurts.” I see this song as the sister to U2’s “One”: both were released around the same time, and both deal with hardship and pain.

    5. “Radio Free Europe.” Early R.E.M. was almost anarchy in a bottle, and this song was a wonderful opening shot. I remember how, on the tour for Green, the introductory slideshow (with “audience instructions”) forbade any audible request for this song. 😉

    6. “You Are The Everything.” As Sarah says, it’s a hauntingly beautiful song.

    7. “World Leader Pretend.” One of Stipe’s best political lyrics.

    8. “The One I Love.” This is the song that first turned me on to R.E.M.

    9. “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry).” I just like this song.

    10. “Radio Song.” Another song that puts me in a great mood whenever I hear it.

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