Sometimes I just want to listen to R.E.M.

I like to put an R.E.M. mix on while I’m baking. But only the ones that include Man on the Moon.

Once I got lost leaving D.C. and stuck on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway going towards Baltimore and no matter what I did I could not get turned around to go the other way. I finally gave up and just went to Baltimore to make a U-turn. What’s the Frequency Kenneth was on the mix tape I listened to on endless repeat on that endless day. Monster (1994) might be the only R.E.M. CD I ever bought. CD’s were expensive and I liked R.E.M. but not enough to buy their back catalog $20 at a time. Star 69 is another one of my favorites, on that record, and also a monument to lost technology from the time before Caller ID.

I would like to make a motion that at least one documentary made about the timeline we’ve living in since March 2020 should have this song playing over a montage. Because it has very much been the end of the world as we know it. I do not remember what this was in response to originally, but some sentiments are evergreen.

There’s this hoary old chestnut: Stand. I have vague memories of doing this dance at parties in college. Maybe also at weddings.

And in conclusion: Shiny Happy People, which came out in 1991, just as grunge was getting rolling. It’s a bouncy pop song and it may or may not be deeply sarcastic. I always think of it in the context of culture v. counter-culture, the high end where Nirvana howling Here we are now / entertain us / acting stupid / and contagious was the low end, both standing in opposition to the synchronized glam of New Kids on the Block.

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