366 Songs 198: Half A World Away

The standout song from R.E.M.’s Out of Time, back when I first bought the album as a painfully sincere 16-year-old, and still my favorite. While the instrumentation fulfills the role of almost all of the other songs on the album – mostly acoustic, mid-tempo, restrained and utterly pleasant – what always appealed to me about the song was the aching longing in Michael Stipe’s singing, the vibration and voice cracking that lends it some kind of weird emotional authenticity that really appealed to me back then. It was “Losing My Religion” as a single than made me buy the album, but it was this song that made me into an R.E.M. fanatic for years, excitedly watching for their television appearances and hoping that they’d do this one.

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