Song of the Day #1,543: ‘Good Advices’ – R.E.M.

R.E.M. is best known as one of the forefathers of the alternative music genre, but in terms of sound I place them squarely in the folk rock tradition. Particularly on their early albums, you can trace Peter Buck’s guitar work straight back to The Byrds.

The band evolved into more of a rock sound — even grunge on 1994′s Monster and parts of subsequent albums — and also found success with the pop style (particularly on Green and Out of Time).

For the purposes of the genome project, R.E.M. therefore earns marks for ‘Folk Rock Derivative’ and ‘Pure Pop,’ as well as ‘Melancholy,’ as that is the prevailing mood on their most artistically successful albums.

Their most folksy, melancholy album of all happens to be my favorite, Fables of the Reconstruction. That record is perhaps the most sadly gorgeous piece of work ever committed to tape.

When you greet a stranger look at his shoes
Keep your money in your shoes put your trouble behind

When you greet a stranger look at her hands
Keep your money in your hands put your travel behind

Who are you going to call for, what do you have to say
Keep your hat on your head home is a long way away

At the end of the day, I’ll forget your name
I’d like it here if I could leave and see you from a long way away

When you greet a stranger, look at her shoes
Keep you memories in your shoes, put your travel behind

Who are you going to call for, what do you have to say
Keep your hat on your head
Home is a long way away

At the end of the day, when there are no friends
When there are no lovers, who are you going to call for
What do you have to change

A familiar face a foreign place I forget your name
I’d like it here if I could leave and see you from a long way away

Who are you going to call for, what do you have to say
Keep your hat on your head
Home is a long way away


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One thought on “Song of the Day #1,543: ‘Good Advices’ – R.E.M.

  1. Dana says:

    I would probably consider REM more melancholy if I could actually understand what stipe was singing on those early recordings, as the music itself is not all that melancholy.

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