24 February 2011

Losing Shiny Happy People

REM - Shiny Happy People

There is a story on R.E.M.'s official website entitled 20 Years of Losing My Religion.  It pays homage to, arguably, R.E.M.'s most popular song.  Plus there are 14 different videos for your viewing pleasure.  Seeing this tribute got me thinking about how the album Out of Time also contains the song that R.E.M. seems to hide from the most, "Shiny Happy People". 

"Shiny Happy People" was the second single from Out of Time and is the last R.E.M. song to reach the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100.  I can remember hearing the song on Z93 while riding the school bus, and it always brought a smile to my face. 

R.E.M. has not performed the song live on tour since it was released, which is kind of strange for a top 10 hit.  "Losing My Religion", on the other hand, has been a staple of an R.E.M. concert since it's release.  "Shiny Happy People" also did not appear on the bands latest greatest hits album, In Time: The Best of R.E.M.  Curious, to say the least.  R.E.M. has only had four top ten hits, and they put the others on greatest hits compilations.

Perhaps they never played it on tour because they didn't have an way to replace Kate Peirson, but that didn't stop them from performing "E-bow the Letter" without Patti Smith a few times.  Maybe the guys will dust it off one of these days.  After all, they did perform "Kohoutek" after vowing never to play it live, and it wasn't ever released as a single.

"Shiny Happy People", for better or for worse, is a part of R.E.M., and I embrace it and sing along every time it comes up on my playlist.  It may not be the best R.E.M. song, but it's a darn good fun-loving bubblegum pop song.



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