Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Greatest song of all time of the week: R.E.M., "The One I Love"

Sometimes you learn more from songs you've heard 10,000 times already after you haven't heard them in years. That old warhorse "Baba O'Riley," for example, is pretty terrific after you've kept away from it for a good long time.

And that's the way I felt when R.E.M.'s radio breakthrough, "The One I Love," came over the radio the other day. There's so much there: the nasty repetition of the lyrics, the combination of yearning and disgust, deep desire and no affect, in Michael Stipe's voice, the bruising jangle of Peter Buck's guitar, the otherworldly counterpoints of Mike Mills's bass and harmonies, and the emphatic closure of Bill Berry's drums. This is thrilling, impolite, dangerous stuff.



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