Song of the Day #684: ‘I Don’t Sleep, I Dream’ – R.E.M.

Automatic For the People was one of the hardest of hard acts to follow, so when R.E.M. released Monster two years later, in 1994, they went in a completely different direction.

Here was the “hard” album they’d been talking about recording for years, and then some. The acoustic flavors of Out of Time and Automatic For the People were replaced by distorted, grungy guitars and processed vocals.

Because of the marked contrast from its classic predecessor, it’s tempting to look at Monster as a let-down for the band — in fact, I was prepared to describe it as one of their more underrated albums — but the truth is it was a big hit commercially and received very good reviews.

Several singles charted, including ‘What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?,’ ‘Strange Currencies’ and ‘Crush With Eyeliner‘ and the album itself debuted at #1 and achieved multi-platinum status.

Monster is occasionally a tough listen (particularly during its last few songs) but it’s frequently a rewarding one. ‘Crush With Eyeliner’ is one of my very favorite R.E.M. songs and a perfect use of the instrumentation and production that typify the album’s tracks. ‘Let Me In’ is the heavy metal cousin of ‘Country Feedback,’ an impassioned plea mumbled from behind a wall-of-guitars. ‘Strange Currencies’ sets the teen angst of ‘Everybody Hurts’ against a more musically interesting backdrop’ ‘Tongue’ is the one delicate track on the album, a sleepy piano and organ piece featuring Stipe in fine falsetto.

‘I Don’t Sleep, I Dream’ is another moody winner that typifies the somehow subtle hard rock sound of Monster.

I’m looking for an interruption,
Do you believe?
You looking to dig my dreams
Be prepared for anything
You come into my little scene
Hooray hooray hip hip hooray
There’s one thing I can guarantee:
You won’t have to dig, dig too deep

Said leave me to lay, but touch me deep,
I don’t sleep, I dream
I’ll settle for a cup of coffee, but you know what I really need

Are you looking to drive my dreams?
You here to run my screens?
You come, deliver my demons
Hooray hooray hip hip hooray
Are you coming to ease my headache?
Do you give good head?
Am I good in bed?

I don’t know, I guess so
I don’t sleep, I dream
I’ll settle for a cup of coffee, but you know what I really need

I’m looking for an interruption,
Can you believe?
Some medicine for my headache
Hooray hooray hip hip hooray
I’m pitching for a new direction
Pinch me when I wake
Don’t tell me my dreams are fake
You leave me to lay, you touch me deep,
I don’t sleep, I dream
I’ll settle for a cup of coffee, but you know what I really need
Leave me to lay, but touch me deep,
I don’t sleep, I dream
I’ll settle for a cup of coffee, but you know what I really need

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #684: ‘I Don’t Sleep, I Dream’ – R.E.M.

  1. Dana says:

    This is where REM lost me, and really never got me back. Not a big fan of the heavier, grungier sound. Since I haven’t followed the band so closely after this, I will be curious to hear in the following SOTD posts if I have really missed anything super special.

  2. Flor says:

    Dana, you certainly did. “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” is, in my opion, the best album of all time. Up is also a great, very unique sounding record. Love Monster as well, except for “You”. “I don’t sleep, I dream” is up there with their most sensual songs, along with Lotus.

  3. Bonjour, Nice to yoke you, I am Julia

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