05 April 2010

Happy 30th R.E.M.!

On April 5, 1980 R.E.M. performed live for the first time. Seeing how this is their 30th birthday, I found myself reflecting on my favorite R.E.M. song. There are about five songs that immediately come to mind as potential candidates, but the one song that strikes the greatest resonance and stirs the most emotion in me is "Find the River".

"Find the River" is the twelfth and final track on Automatic for the People. It is a perfect song. Better yet, a perfect R.E.M. song. All of the elements that make R.E.M. great are there, but what stand out the most to me are the harmonies. The just continue to build throughout the song, then by the end, they are so powerful, I always get a little choked up.

Like a lot of R.E.M. songs, there is not one clear interpretation, so the listener is able to give whatever meaning he or she sees fit. It is one aspect of the band I particularly enjoy. The different ways to hear the songs keep them fresh, and keep them relevant. I could have heard this song one way when it was released in 1993, and a completely different way now in 2010. But no matter how I interpret the lyrics, there is one constant, it is an absolutely beautiful song.

Whenever I hear the opening chords to the song, no matter what I'm doing, I stop and listen. So, now that I have built it up to a point where the expectations are unrealistically high, here is the song for you to listen to. Please take time and listen to it in recognition of the 30th birthday of one of the greatest bands of all time! Hopefully it lives up to all my hype. I also posted the lyrics, too, because they are equally moving. Enjoy!

Hey now, little speedyhead,
the read on the speedmeter says
you have to go to task in the city
where people drown and people serve.
Don't be shy. Your just deserve
is only just light years to go.

Me, my thoughts are flower strewn
ocean storm, bayberry moon.
I have got to leave to find my way.
Watch the road and memorize
this life that pass before my eyes.
Nothing is going my way.

The ocean is the river's goal,
a need to leave the water knows
We're closer now than light years to go.

I have got to find the river,
bergamot and vetiver
run through my head and fall away.
Leave the road and memorize
this life that pass before my eyes.
Nothing is going my way.

There's no one left to take the lead,
but I tell you and you can see
we're closer now than light years to go.
Pick up here and chase the ride.
The river empties to the tide.
Fall into the ocean.

The river to the ocean goes,
a fortune for the undertow.
None of this is going my way.
There is nothing left to throw
of Ginger, lemon, indigo,
coriander stem and rose of hay.
Strength and courage overrides
the privileged and weary eyes
of river poet search naivete.
Pick up here and chase the ride.
The river empties to the tide.
All of this is coming your way

1 comment:

  1. Really beautiful! I'm really glad you posted the lyrics, I've heard this one before, but the words brought it to a whole new level. Happy b-day R.E.M.!



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