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Saturday Song #2

I've realized something important about this new feature...it's going to be difficult to decide what song to write about each week. There are so many great songs, so how do I go about narrowing it down? As it happens, today (or yesterday, depending on which website you look at) is the 25th anniversary of the release of Out of Time, and learning that fact this morning made for an easy decision...

"Me In Honey" by R.E.M.

I knew a little about R.E.M. before 1991. I sang along on the radio to "The One I Love" in 1987 and again to "Stand" in 1988, but that was as far as I took it. In 1991, though, I was starting to branch out and try new music and "Losing My Religion" was all over the radio, so I bought my first R.E.M. album. It was not my last, to be sure. Speaking of last, the band has always had a way with album closers. Think "Wendell Gee" from Fables of the Reconstruction, "Electrolite" from New Adventures in Hi-Fi, "Little America" from Reckoning, and "Find the River" from Automatic for the People. "Me In Honey" fits right in.

It starts with that hypnotic guitar. You feel it too, right? It's a simple structure that I could listen to for a half hour straight. And yes, the bass is right there from the start too, easily supporting that guitar. There's a little bit of vocal too. Then Bill Berry gives two quick hits on the drums and we're off and running. It's a bouncy pop tune and Kate Pierson's wordless vocals draw you in immediately. Kate's from the B-52s, by the way, and is featured prominently on the record. I mentioned the bounce of the song and R.E.M. is doing that classic upbeat music paired with downbeat lyrics...

I sat there looking ugly
Looking ugly and mean
Knew what you were saying
You were saying to me
Baby's got some new rules
Baby said she's had it with me

Seems a shame to waste your time on me
Seems a lot to waste your time for me

Left me to love (or, and look?)
What it's doing to me

I've always heard the second in the last couplet but the lyrics online suggest it's the first. Either way, this song seems to be about a relationship that's falling apart, which is unfortunate, because later on we learn that...

Baby's got a baby with me
That's a part, that's a part of me

Things are not going well for the narrator, are they? He's definitely feeling sorry for himself, uttering...

What about me?

...a few times before the song ends. It's sad and depressing, except the music keeps it from feeling that way. It's a simple structure with Peter Buck's guitar and Mike Mills' bass in concert and Bill Berry adding some shaker into the mix at times, while still keeping that steady beat with the double taps all the way through. Pierson's vocals add a haunting quality to the song and Michael Stipe came up with a great melody. Who knew at the time that we'd have the main four for only three more albums?

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