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…
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.