Song of the Day #2,798: ‘The Wake-Up Bomb’ – R.E.M.

newadventuresR.E.M. officially broke up five years ago, but in my book the band’s real end came 15 years before that. New Adventures in Hi-Fi, released in September of 1996, was the last R.E.M. album to feature drummer Bill Berry and the last to sound completely like the band I loved.

Subsequent releases had their moments. 1998’s Up, the first post-Berry record, was the high water mark for that era, fueled by the band’s uncertainty about their identity as a trio. Reveal, Accelerate and Collapse Into Now had some high spots but weren’t memorable overall.

Only 2004’s Around the Sun was a complete disaster, one guitarist Peter Buck dismissed as unlistenable, “because it sounds like what it is, a bunch of people that are so bored with the material that they can’t stand it anymore.”

But New Adventures in Hi-Fi, which turns 20 this year, was a fitting swan song. Just hearing the brash confidence of today’s random iTunes selection, ‘The Wake-Up Bomb,’ brings me right back to that fall, when I was thrilled to devour a brand-new R.E.M. album and blissfully unaware that it would essentially be their last.

I look good in a glass pack
I look good and mean
I look good in metallic sick wraparound blackout tease
I scud along the horizon, I drink some sweet tree tea
I get high in my low-ass boot-cut jean
I like being seen
I look good with my drink-eat-no-sleep, take-a-leap longevity
I get high on my attitude, latitude, 1973
I’m in deep

My head’s on fire and high esteem
Carry my dead, bored, been there, done that, anything
Oh, the wake-up bomb
Oh, the wake-up bomb
Oh, the wake-up bomb
Oh, the wake-up bomb
My head’s on fire and high esteem
Get drunk and sing along to Queen
Practice my T-Rex moves and make the scene
Carry my dead, bored, been there, done that, anything

I had to knock a few buildings over
I make an ugly mess
I had to blow a gasket
Drop transmission
I had to decompress
I had to write the great American novel
I had a neutron bomb
I had to teach the world to sing by the age of 21
I wake up (I wake up)
I wake up (I wake up)
I threw up when I saw what I’d done

Oh, the wake-up bomb
Oh, the wake-up bomb
My head’s on fire and high esteem
Get drunk and sing along to Queen
Practice my T-Rex moves and make the scene
Yeah, I’d rather be anywhere doing anything

I’ve had enough, I’ve seen enough, I’ve had it all, I’m giving up
I won the race, I broke the cup, I drank it all, I spit it up
I’ve had enough, I’ve seen enough, I’ve had it all, I’m giving up
I won the race, I broke the cup, I drank it all, I spit it up

Yeah, atomic, Supersonic
What a joke, I’m dumb
See ya, don’t wanna be you
Lunch meat, Pond scum

My head’s on fire in high esteem
Get drunk and sing along to Queen
Practice my T-Rex moves and make the scene
Yeah, I’d rather be anywhere doing anything
Yeah, I’d rather be anywhere doing anything
Yeah, I’d rather be anywhere doing anything

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,798: ‘The Wake-Up Bomb’ – R.E.M.

  1. Dana says:

    I never really warmed up to this album. For me, the high water mark came years earlier with Automatic for the People.

  2. peg says:

    Now this is a song I can dance to 🙂

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