Friday, April 29, 2011

30 Songs, 30 Days (2009 Edition), Day Twenty Three: Disturbance At The Heron House by R.E.M.

I'm feeling profoundly depressed today, but make a promise, keep a promise....

And for today's patriotic entry we have proof of the American Dream--namely, R.E.M. Now be honest--don't you think that Michael Stipe is one of the most unlikely rockstars ever? A voice that may not be beautiful but is a tornado of emotions, a face that is at turns nondescript and ugly, a body like a scarecrow missing half its stuffing....and yet this man has fronted a band that has been on the cutting edge of modern rock music for over twenty five years. Oh, sure, I doubt anyone would argue that Around The Sun or Up are Titans of Rock Goodness....but their batting average is way above average. Hell, the guys' batting average is better than David Ortiz' these days (metaphorically, of course).

So this is a deep track from Document, which is arguably the album that really broke the band--it was the first album to crack the top ten, and the first to have a real Top 40 hit in "The One I Love." The song itself is a bit of fluff, basically using a fictitious breakout of animals in a fictitious zoo as a metaphor for people who are repressed to throw off their chains and celebrate themselves; I have to assume that Stipe, a not-really-closeted-but-not-talking-about-it-at-the-time homosexual was using it to talk about his own sexuality. I would have preferred something more meaty to talk about for the 4th of July, but it could have been worse--we could've been stuck with "Happy Shiny People," which threatened to turn the band into a pop group....

And still, when I think of Mr. Stipe, still living in his home town, using his money to make the lives of others better...I think that's what America is all about.

Happy 4th, everyone.

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