Radio VII, side A, track 2: “The One I Love” by R.E.M.

Oh, R.E.M., at the time I didn’t realize that you guys were a big deal, I just enjoyed your music.  To me, you actually sounded like if the Munchkins had their own rock band.  Your lead singer had this high nasal sound that could have been straight from Munchkinland, and I always liked the idea that while the rest of the Munchkins were out touting the Lollipop Guild and the Lullaby League, you guys were  hanging out by the Yellow Brick Road, smoking cigarettes and looking dour.  If someone told me that R.E.M. stood for Really Emo Munchkins, I totally would have believed it (even though “emo” was a few decades from entering anyone’s vernacular, it still would have made sense).  Now, after hearing a lot of your music and seeing interviews where you have such an inflated sense of self-importance, I can imagine that it would be appalling to you that someone pictured you as really bad-ass Munchkins.  But it actually makes me like that image that much more now.  I’m glad I didn’t know at the time how humorless you were, R.E.M., but I’m also glad you guys made such great music.

UPDATE, 4/13/12 — This post has been Freshly Pressed!  Welcome to everyone, and I hope you enjoy your stay (and the music, too)!  If I could go back in time and talk to my 12-year-old self, I’d say “You know those countless hours you spent in your room sitting in front of your stereo with your fingers poised above the Play/Record buttons instead of going outside and getting some fresh air?  Totally worth it.”

UPDATE, 4/15/12 — The wonderful Lux has made my day by providing this excellent rendition of the Really Emo Munchkins!


“The One I Love”

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire
Fire

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire
Fire

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
Another prop has occupied my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire
Fire
Fire
Fire

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180 thoughts on “Radio VII, side A, track 2: “The One I Love” by R.E.M.

  1. Lux says:

    Best description of R.E.M. ever.

  2. daddialogue says:

    Ha! Never really pictured Stipe as a munchkin before but it does kinda work…especially if you watch their Shiny Happy People video (and you may not want to do that). This song was my introduction to the band as well, and I have been a big fan since then, even through the rough periods. Great post!

  3. IMHO one of their best songs and one of the best of the decade!

  4. One of their ten best trax.

    I guess they were humorless in their indie period, but after that there was ‘Shiny Happy People’ (now that’s Munchkin, altho certainly not one of their best trax ….) and ‘Man on the Moon’.

    Good to see diff opinions.

    • Starstorm says:

      I used to think that about “Shiny Happy People”, too, but then I found out it’s actually about politics and propaganda and also kind of the Tiananmen Square massacre and that Mr. Stipe was kind of miffed that we all just didn’t get it. To which I say, “Maybe mention Tiananmen Square somewhere in the song so that we get the irony”. Either way, humorless or not, they’re a great band. Thanks for checking out the site :)

  5. Oh man. I, like you, loved R.E.M. without realizing what a turd Michael Stipe was. Great song, however. I like the Munchkin comparison. After the Shiny Happy People video and an appearance on Sesame Street I began to see them as a band of Muppets.

  6. Lilian says:

    I really don’t think REM can seriously be described as humourless. This pun may or may not be unintentional. See/hear (as mentioned above) Shiny Happy People and Man on the Moon, and what about The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight? Even their more ‘serious’ songs have a playful edge to them sometimes, I think. But I could be totally wrong. I can’t really picture Mr Stipe as a munchkin, but I think he’ probably find the idea of it quite amusing.

  7. Lilian says:

    …he’d…obviously. My ‘d’ key is stuck due to crumbs in the keyboard. I know I need to clean they keyboard.

  8. Honeypie says:

    Ugh. This makes my skin crawl; I probably shouldn’t have clicked in. I probably shouldn’t even be reading blogs, they irritate me so. Dead Letter Office, Murmur, Reckoning, Life’s Rich Pageant, Reconstruction of the Fables were REM’s best albums. Michael Stipe continues to be one of my favorite people on the planet. Ugh.

  9. I think you’ve got your turn table on the wrong setting – I’ve never thought Michael Stipe’s voice was high or nasally. He’s no Barry White that’s for sure, but definitely not munchkin either. The imagery you’ve given me is a lot of fun though! The reference to EMO really doesn’t make any sense to me at all. What we’re now calling EMO has actually been around for decades (Husker Du, Fugazi), but REM doesn’t really fit. I’d give you ‘soft rock’ though.

    • Starstorm says:

      That’s fair, Mitch. But the joke doesn’t work if it’s Really Soft Rock Munchkins ;) And to be fair, this is what the 12-year-old me thought when I heard them on the radio and had no idea who they were other than a great band, and the older-than-that me thought “R.E.M. as a Munchkin rock band? Print it!”

      Glad you enjoyed it, Mitch, hope you stick around for more!

  10. Whenever I listen to a song from R.E.M, immediately I’m transported back to my teens. Ahh, those were the days.

  11. Dena says:

    R.E.M. is a collective of pretty damn smart guys…super creative, awkwardly nerdy – they must be forgiven if they don’t come across as an especially social bunch. I’ve often believed that the most genius of people are the most misunderstood. R.E.M. is my favorite band of all time and while I think Stipe is a little pushy when it comes to his causes, I like to think I may have someone like him in my corner one day come my time.

    Those guys have turned music on its head and they’re an extremely influential force behind what’s going on these days. An inflated sense of self-importance? Maybe. But Kanye is celebrated for being a dick. Why can’t these guys!? I LOVE THEM!

    Though I disagree with your POV, I think this was a fun read. Congrats on the FP!

    • Starstorm says:

      Thanks, Dena. And I’d take Mr. Stipe over Mr. West any day of the week. And when it comes down to it, it’s all in good fun looking back at what the pre-teen me thought of the new music coming out of my radio through the lens of the much more jaded and cynical me of the future. I can guarantee that me as a kid could’ve cared less about anything beyond if the song was good or not. Kinda miss that little guy :) Thanks for reading!

  12. internetfavs says:

    R.E.M rules!
    internetfavs.com

  13. List of X says:

    Sometimes you enjoy the music more before you know what the group looks like and talks like. So I guess I could still enjoy REM, since the only place I’ve ever remember them seeing was on the Simpsons

    • Starstorm says:

      Well said, List of X. NBC keeps telling us “The More You Know” is important, but sometimes, especially with entertainment, a little ignorance ain’t so bad.

  14. Starstorm says:

    Reblogged this on Repercussion Comics and commented:

    Hey, Repercussion Comics fans, one of my other blogs was featured on “Freshly Pressed” today, which is pretty amazingly cool. If you happen to like nostalgic looks back at the music of the late ’80′s, you might enjoy it :) And keep your fingers crossed that Repercussion Comics will get Freshly Pressed one of these days, too, the number of views it drives to your site is pretty mind-blowing.

  15. The Waiting says:

    Oh, REM. Love them so much. Every album up until Monster completely makes up for everything that followed it.

  16. kroessman says:

    Reblogged this on Hear! Hear! and commented:
    Normally I don’t reblog others’ posts, but this one amused me to no end. I’ll be adding “Mixed Tape Masterpiece” to my blogroll this evening, but I trust you loyal “Hear! Hear!” readers will find plenty to read there, much as I know I will.

  17. TJ Johnston says:

    “The One I Love” marked a turning point for R.E.M.: when Michael Stipe began singing intelligibly. :D

  18. project1979 says:

    Reblogged this on project1979 and commented:
    Ode to the Mixed Tape…Anyone have a favorite they miss?

  19. project1979 says:

    Oh thank you, my friend! And thanks to those who helped freshly press you. So many great memories evoked by this post.
    If you haven’t had your fix of nostalgia yet, please feel free to check out my blog which is producing material for my show about generation x/y. I think we’re on the same page ;)
    http://project1979.wordpress.com

    • Starstorm says:

      Thanks for checking it out and reblogging me! And I love your blog! Added it to my blogroll :) (I used blog a lot in this comment. . .)

      • project1979 says:

        Absolutely! And thank you for checking out my blog. Feel free to “like” project1979 on FB, too: http://www.facebook.com/project1979. It’s a performance about the Generation X/Y…I love reflecting on the gift of the mixtape, an era where you had to think twice about the importance of the song that made it to Side A or Side B. No simple click for us! REM were a pivotal cornerstone of my preteens. My sister loved them, I tried to like them and now I appreciate their musicianship and am proud that “I knew way back when.” :)

        • Starstorm says:

          I will do it! Yes, making a tape taught me the value of patience and sitting in one place staring at an object for long periods of time, so I was perfectly positioned when the internet became a thing.

  20. midnitechef says:

    Haha Emo Munchkins! That image will forever come to mind when I hear R.E.M on the radio… congrats on FP!

  21. I’ve never heard of REM until now. good song.

  22. pnwauthor says:

    Dang, this brings back memories. I was finishing college when that song came out. I never could understand the angst-filled video that went with the song.

    • Starstorm says:

      That’s one thing I was blessed with, though I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t have access to MTV or really anything that would tell me what the singers looked like or what the videos looked like, so all of it was left to my imagination. Which is why I pictured R.E.M. as Munchkins :) I’m guessing if I’d seen the video this post wouldn’t exist as is. Glad it brought back some memories, thanks for reading!

  23. gaycarboys says:

    REM was one of those groups who passed through my childhood unnoticed. great post though

  24. It is hard for me to read this…since I am a very dedicated REM fan and have been for a few decades. On some level I understand and respect your interpretation of this song…but to me it is slightly disrespectful. REM pioneered a sound and a musical movement, and have a rightful place in the hall of fame. REM was nominated 14 times for a Grammy and won a Grammy four times. In 1995 they received the MTV Vanguard Award. In 2007, REM was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame — and not because they sounded like munchkins. I just needed to share my thoughts — with respect for yours.

    • Starstorm says:

      No doubt they’re a great band. I love their music, too. Sorry that you feel like I disrespected them, but I stand by what my 12-year-old self thought when he first heard them ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  25. They are definitely my favorite band and one that changed my entire life; they introduced me to the mystery, power, and romanticism of music as well as inpsiring me to start think about what music can mean to me AND bopping and singing along to catchy melodies. They made me the person I am today. Needless to say, I highly approve of this post.

  26. sonataslut says:

    I was thrilled when I saw a post about R.E.M. (my favorite band) had been Freshly Pressed. I basically just want to say that I find Michael to be a very genuine and good person, and not self-centered. Everyone has opinions, though.

    Also, I have to say that it seems some people do not get that The One I Love is not a love song. It is the antithesis of a romantic, I-love-you ballad. It’s lyrics need to be paid more attention. I am not saying you said this, by the way. I just read someone’s comment about not understanding the angsty video that goes with it.

    • Starstorm says:

      I’m sure Mr. Stipe is a very nice person. He just seems very full of himself in any interview I’ve ever seen of him. But as we’ve established, he also rocked out with the Muppets on Sesame Street, which, if I know my law, means he’s absolved of any negative feelings toward him. Thanks for checking out the blog!

  27. twistnpout says:

    this is so great. I was never on the REM train back when they were the sweet hearts of college “indie” rock. They totally got on my nerves then and with the exception of one song, they still do.In fact “The One I Love” was covered in one of my posts.(http://twistnpout.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-one-i-love). That song has never gone over well with me from the moment I first heard it. I’m not sure if my dislike of REM came from the adoration everyone poured over them or Stipe’s pretentiousness – I have another acronym for REM Really Egotistical Michael (Stipe). Just my Opinion. But I love your post, made me laugh.

    • Starstorm says:

      If you laughed, I’ve done my job! And I enjoyed your post about this song, as well. Especially what it means if someone dedicates this song to you. Nicely done regarding the “a simple prop” theme. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve converted all these songs and looked up the actual lyrics to them, I did not understand a LOT of these songs when I was a kid. No doubt I would have dedicated this one to someone as well back in the day without knowing what I was actually dedicating to them.

  28. megrug says:

    So funny! I just wrote a post entitled “this one goes out to the one I love (http://bit.ly/IzsqFy)” a few days ago about how much I love my blog. Which sounds completely lame. But I promise it makes sense. Congrats on the freshly pressed! Great post :)

  29. jaymers says:

    I love this! I think it’s even funnier when paired with the comments from the die-hard fans out there. Stand by your twelve-year-old self’s interpretation! Michael Stipe’s mom needs to stop commenting on your blog and just go cry herself to sleep. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

    • Starstorm says:

      hee hee! I will say there’s probably some irony in defending Mr. Stipe and company’s humorlessness on a humorous (hopefully) post, but I respect fan dedication. If someone started making fun of Star Trek fans (and I can’t imagine why they would), I would leap into the fray myself ;) Though I love the thought of Michael Stipe’s mom angrily commenting. I got a big laugh out of that, so thanks. And thanks for reading, hope you continue to enjoy it!

    • jaymers –
      i’m not michael stipe’s mom. never thought a “mom-blogger” could also be a mean girl. did i mention — rock n roll hall of fame. LMAO.

      • Starstorm says:

        All right, everybody settle down. This site is dedicated to a celebration of the music I loved as a kid (including R.E.M.’s music) and some occasional good-natured ribbing, so let’s all focus on that, shall we :)

      • jaymers says:

        I love that you called me a mom-blogger. I’m going to put that on my resume now. But seriously, I love REM, I just thought the comments pertaining to this post were a bit funny. Gotta run, gotta do some laundry, then I’m going to go silently rage about skinny bald-men and after that I think I’ll sing Nightswimming at the top of my lungs to my KitchenAid mixer.

        • Starstorm says:

          That sounds like a productive night ;) “Nightswimming” is such a great song. And maybe even greater if you picture Munchkins soulfully skinny-dipping while singing it.

  30. My “Shiny Happy People” single cassette is still one of the most nostalgic pieces of my childhood I have. I got it for Christmas when I was in 5th grade from my first boyfriend. It came with a card that said “to Julie,” who was my best friend (whoops). I didn’t care. I loved it, and listened to it so many times in a row that it’s worn out now.

    Gotta love REM and their place in the hearts of anyone who lived in the 80s-90s.

  31. mskatykins says:

    That’s hysterical. I heard of you through http://hearhearmusic.com/author/kroessman/ who also has a really cool blog. Nice work. :)

  32. mskatykins says:

    And congrats on the Freshly Pressed status! :)

  33. Marti Parham says:

    Very cute post. (I hope the word cute doesn’t offend you.) Congrats on being Pressed!

  34. fatsoforgetso says:

    This is actually my favourite REM song. I share your sentiment of sitting in my room, listening to the radio with a new blank tape ready to record the songs of the day; it’s something that today’s and tomorrow’s youth won’t be able to enjoy anywhere near as much as you or I did. Unfortunately as technology marches on I’m finding it difficult to replay all those tapes I lovingly created, because tape machines are fast becoming obsolete.

    Thanks for sharing this with.

    Fatso

    • Starstorm says:

      Thanks so much! I agree, with the advent of the internet and instant access to anything you want, the idea of waiting for days listening to the radio to capture your favorite song sounds pretty archaic, but it’s what makes all these songs that much more special to me. One of the reasons I started this little project was in case tape players became completely instinct, I’d still be able to listen to these songs. Keeping my fingers crossed that my little boombox holds out :)

  35. boldbohemian says:

    It is what happens when one starts believing their own press. Funny! I enjoyed reading and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  36. xuantian says:

    Love the song, keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing.. :)

  37. asoulwalker says:

    I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours I spent as a kid making mix-tapes. I would listen to the radio for six hours or more on a Saturday (until my mom kicked me out of the house telling me to go ride my bike or something) with a blank-cassette inserted, my finger poised over the record button/ switch (what the heck do you call those leveresque controls on those things?) waiting for a song I liked. When I make CD’s now… I still label them “mix tape…” Oh, and congrats on being freshly pressed.

  38. Jenn Belle says:

    Dude, I love R.E.M. When I found a vinyl of their album “Green” in a thrift store, it made my day.

  39. thanks for sharing
    best regard from Indonesia

  40. Felicity Fox says:

    Rem! Love it!

  41. I really enjoyed the song. and love to hear about music. Hope i will know more next.

  42. Tinkerbell says:

    That was so fun to read, real good writing. And despite what some (humourless) fans may have thought this post might do to REM’s image, it actually inspired me to give them a listen! It’s been a while =)

    I have to say this is a very cool concept for a blog, very personal and easy to relate to.

    • Starstorm says:

      Thanks so much, Tinkerbell! I’m so glad this inspired you to listen to them; that was one of my intentions when I started this (though at the time I assumed I’d only be inspiring myself ;)). Your comment made me very happy!

  43. Mandy says:

    Great post! I love your blog. I too was one of those kids who sat by the radio every night for the ”Top 9 at 9” in hopes to record my favorite new songs to a cassette tape. :)

    • Starstorm says:

      Thanks and welcome, fellow taper! I had two “prime” recording windows for cool songs. Weeknights was the “Phaser Countdown Five” with Vic St. John aka The Crashman and then on Sundays there was the “Top 30 Countdown” with Jason Taylor followed by the “Hot New Music Hour” with The Crashman again. I’m now realizing how lucky I was, especially with the “Hot New Music Hour” because I captured some songs that I never heard again, so they’re extra extra special.

  44. lijiujiu says:

    Great post. Love the song.

  45. I really loved the band’s music. Too bad they lost the drummer, and too bad they went a bit over the edge politically. Just my opinion and personal taste. I still love the music.

  46. Lux says:

    Oh, just FYI… I nominated you for the Sunshine Award. It isn’t quite the lollipop guild, but it’ll do…
    http://lovelettersaredying.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/you-are-my-sunshine-my-only-sunshine/

  47. CubicleViews says:

    Big R.E.M. fan and LOVE this post/description – especially the pics.
    I too have an R.E.M. post – http://thecubicleviews.com/2011/09/22/r-i-p-r-e-m/

    • Starstorm says:

      Thanks! And I loved your post about R.E.M. and musical tastes AND the fact that you quoted “Freedom Rock”! I own that CD and I do on occasion turn it up, man :)

      • CubicleViews says:

        You own it!?!? My hero!

        • Starstorm says:

          I do :) Back in my college days when credit card companies handed out credit cards like candy, I would be drinking too much and watching TV and commercials such as that one would come on and were VERY convincing to an inebriated freshman. Thank God the internet was only in its infancy or who knows what havoc I would have wrought with my credit. Still a damn good CD, as is my Monster Ballads and Livin’ In The ’90′s :)

  48. jensine says:

    Oh thaks for the memories I danced to REM in the disco (yes they weren’t called clubs back then). I wa really too young to be there but love it and hem and my youth

  49. [...] post was inspired by the comment thread/my MS Paint creation of the Really Emo Munchkins on Mixed Tape Masterpiece; check it [...]

  50. Great post, it´s clear R.E.M. didn´t need to go to the Muppets Show, about Shiny Happy People, many a band´s written more disgusting songs than that, don´t you think so?, even in their most commercial albums they keep on being a superb band.

  51. Dude, you’re utterly hilarious! Thanks for the grin I’ll be wearing today.

  52. One of my favorite R.E.M. songs. Unfortunately, I discovered this awesome band when I was an adult and didn’t get to enjoy such greatness when I was a wee little midget lad. I, to this day, have no idea what R.E.M. stands for… but, you know, it would be awesome if it did stand for Really Emo Munchkins.

  53. angelique523 says:

    I wish I had fallen in love with REM when I was younger. The party would have been great.

  54. wrands says:

    One of my favorites, thanks for sharing.

  55. Love, love , love this song! Thanks for bringing back memories. Keep doing that!

  56. Erik says:

    Genialer Song! REM ist so cool!

  57. matthewhyde says:

    Cards on the table – I love REM. However, I really enjoyed this post, because there’s an element of truth to it. It reminded me of an appearence by Michael Stipe on British TV. The One Show is an early evening magazine programme made up of pre-recorded human interest stories bookended by live studio segments featuring the presenters and fairly high profile celebrity guests commenting on those stories.

    And so seeing Michael Stipe totally bemused by a regional butterfly enthusiast is one of my TV highlights *ever*…

    • Starstorm says:

      That’s a great memory! AND I had to check it out because it sounded awesome and thanks to the magic of the Internet, I found a clip! The butterfly lady starts at about 11:30 and you totally called it. Mr. Stipe was a good sport, but “bemused” is the perfect description for him. Also, I now love the butterfly lady. That lady LOVES butterflies!

  58. fence hire says:

    This is amazing! Love it :)

  59. haha great tune, thanks for remining me of the old classics! REM is one of my faves

  60. somebubble says:

    woohoo REM! totally one of my favourite bands! i’m pretty amused by your munchkin take! really emo munchkins smoking cigarettes on the yellow brick road… awesome post :)

  61. bakewell says:

    Ironically (as Alanis would say), given your C60/C90 theme, TOIL was the first CD single REM released. I bought it at the time, even though it would be another 5 years before I got a CD player and discovered that the tracks listed on the disc were not the same as the tracks pressed on the disc.

  62. horiwood says:

    Rapid Eye Movement. Great name for a band in an age of multi-media wasn’t it?!

    Here’s a link to some music from New Zealand too:
    http://horiwood.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/stan-walker-music-wont-break-your-heart-music-video/

    Thanks for your post.

  63. harleybird says:

    I love this song! Mainly because it is the same verse sung over and over again. So simple and effective.

  64. [...] could make enough noise to get Depeche Mode to look our way. I mean, come on, you did it for REM! Why not for Depeche? I mean, just look at the lead photo for this post? VINTAGE Depeche Mode [...]

  65. [...] R.E.M., here we are again after our first successful outing in which I compared you to Munchkins.  I won’t resort to such juvenile shenanigans this time out, R.E.M., but I will tell you [...]

  66. […] Sooo good, R.E.M.! I know I’ve given you guys a hard time before regarding how smug and self-important I think you guys think you are, but then along comes “Stand”, which is nothing like […]

  67. […] post got Freshly Pressed!!!! Can you believe it? This is the third time in as many years that a post was highlighted by the wonderful WordPress editors, and I can’t […]

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