The World That's Coming

April 16, 2012 366 Songs ,

366 Songs 091: Drive

Like many white people of a particular generation, Out of Time by R.E.M. was a particularly important album for me, and I can remember the mix of disappointment and frustration that accompanied the release of “Drive,” the first single from the follow-up album, Automatic For The People. Almost willfully downbeat and anti-radioplay-friendly, “Drive” wasn’t the comeback song that the eighteen year old me I was at the time hoping for, and I remember forcing myself to listen to it over and over again, convinced that it would have hidden charms that I was too dumb to fully comprehend immediately, and I just had to find them. I’d sit there with the song on repeat, the first CD I’d ever bought for myself (I’d just received my first CD player for my birthday, as I remember), listening to it over and over and thinking “Come on, song, make sense for me, please,” with the most enjoyment I could wring out of it being the three-note coda at the very end of the song that always made me sing along in my head “Arr, Eee, Emmm….”

(Somewhat ironically, I like it a lot more now than I did then, in part because it makes me think of the album as a whole now, and it works much better in that context. So maybe that was all I needed; the rest of Automatic For The People. Belated thanks, R.E.M.!)

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