Tuesday, September 3, 2019

"Fall on Me" by R.E.M.

Song#:  2880
Date:  10/04/1986
Debut:  96
Peak:  94
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  R.E.M.'s first two albums were critically lauded and sold fairly well with each getting into the Top 40 of the Album chart without the aid of hit singles. With their audience growing, the band decided to switch things up and for their third album, Fables of the Reconstruction, they changed producers and recorded in England. The darker, Southern gothic-themed LP didn't charm the critics like their previous two and it failed to place a single on the Pop chart. Two tracks did okay on the Rock chart and that helped the album reach #28. The results were a bit disappointing as it did not advance the band's status or take them further into the mainstream. The band stayed in the States to record their fourth album, Lifes Rich Pageant. They recorded it at John Mellencamp's studio in Indiana and used Mellencamp's producer Don Gehman. Critical praise once again came the band's way and this lead single became their first to hit the Rock Top 10 (#5). Unfortunately, pop radio still wasn't on board with the band and the single stalled at the bottom of the Pop chart after a minor few weeks. Still, the album brought aboard more fans and by January of '87 it became R.E.M.'s first gold seller. It was a much needed improvement and the band was only going to go up from here.

ReduxReview:  This song inched the band closer to a more mainstream sound. Gehman's production worked well, Stipe was singing clearer, and the chorus was quite hooky. They still had some work to do to gain a wider audience, but this showed that they were on their way. I like the way that Stipe and Mike Mills snake the two melodies around each other. It's very effective and other songs on the album like "Hyena" do the same thing. This song should have done better than a measly #94, but at least Rock radio was on board and it gained the band a lot more fans.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Apparently, the album's title comes from a comedy film. The 1964 Blake Edwards flick A Shot in the Dark was the second to featured Peter Sellers and the bumbling detective Inspector Clouseau. In a scene where Clouseau opens a car door and falls into a water fountain, a maid named Maria (played by Elke Sommer) suggests the Inspector should get out of the wet clothes before he catches pneumonia. The Inspector replies to her: "Yes, I probably will. But it's part of life's rich pageant." The phrase "life's rich pageant" is an old English idiom that basically means accepting the unenjoyable things that happen in life. R.E.M. took the phrase, minus the apostrophe, and turned it into an album title.


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