Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Believe

This is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs ever, off of one of my favorite R.E.M. albums. And seeing how R.E.M. is unquestionably one of my favorite all-time bands, that's saying something. (At least for me.)

Mind you, I am not sure the album ranks in their Top 3 of all-time, nor am I sure this song even ranks in their Top 10 in terms of true greatness. But still, I love it so.

I love how Bill Berry’s drums come in a second too early to start things off (after the awesome banjo roll-in), tripping the wires on a song fueled by energy and chaos.

I love how Mike Mills (and Bill) take the chorus up, up and away with their harmonies—God, they were good at that.

I love how Michael Stipe can declare a few seconds in, “I believe in coyotes, and time as an abstract.” And it can somehow make sense.

I love the rev-up to each chorus, how the music accelerates and Michael’s singing takes on added urgency, as if something very important is about to happen. (Listen to how he pronounces, “Practice makes per-FECT, per-FECT is a fault, and fault lines CHANGE…” at the end of the second verse, for example.)

But mostly? I love how at the heart of arguably their most rocking album (and definitely their first truly rocking album, Lifes Rich Pageant) they take the hard edge they’ve now developed and find a way to mesh it with Peter Buck's hallmark jangle. Something new(ish) and something familiar, all rolled into one 3:51 rocking, rollicking, semi-nonsensical bundle of musical joy.

1 comment:

  1. One of the very, very few things I've gotten out of this "friendship" of ours is an appreciation for this song. It took me longer to warm to the entire Lifes Rich Pageant album than any of their others (well, of the albums I did eventually warm to—which is to say, the Bill Berry-era), and of the few songs I did react well to fairly quickly, this wasn't one of them. The tempo was simply too fast for the then-still-wary-of-punk more fool me. Your love of it actually made me reconsider it and, much to my shock and horror, you were absolutely right.