I tried to think back to why I didn’t even consider purchasing this album in 1998 when it was released. The best answer I can figure is that I wasn’t purchasing much in the way of music at the time and golden liquid assets and cowboy killers were eating up any discretionary funds. So it goes.
After finding out that Collapse Into Now would be the last new fare R.E.M would be delivering I decided I would make it a point to engage the albums that I left by the wayside. Oddly enough one of the first cuts that I listened to after I popped the borrowed disk into my PC was Daysleeper– an activity that at the album’s release was about to become my lifestyle for just over half a decade.
It has never taken much for me to relate to Michael Stipe’s point of view- it speaks to me for the most part. We do differ on some of the reservations he has of such a shift- I always enjoyed that time of day. There is so much peace. The fact that he worked Circadian rhythm into his lyrics made me smirk.
The very first track that drew me in though was At My Most Beautiful. I had a feeling it would resonate as well. The opening piano brought me Nightswimming and then the opening lyrics-
I’ve found a way to make you
I’ve found a way
a way to make you smile
That is me at my best, in a nutshell- attempting to elevafe others. When I act goofy or share something with my daughter that touches her, brings either the giggle or the “ohhhhh” followed by a smirk of understanding I am unstoppable. Those moments make anything else that is irking me, aching on me or troubling my thoughts head to the hills. I have only given this song three turns around my ears so far and I am already sold.
The third and final song title that caught my eye was Falls to Climb. Much like many Pearl Jam albums I have found that R.E.M albums often house many of my favorite tracks at the end. Falls to Climb has an interesting tone to it, early on I would assume it is about weakness, but by the end it becomes apparent that any weakness being bandied about is that of the outside, not the voice of the song.
Had consequence chose differently
Had fate it’s ugly head
My actions make me beautiful
And dignify the flesh
Me. I am free, I am free
I plan to give the album a few listens over the next few weeks at work. I will milk it. My stash of new R.E.M is only so large.