Thursday, September 24, 2020

"The One I Love" by R.E.M.

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3267
Date:  09/19/1987
Debut:  84
Peak:  9
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  Over the course of four critically lauded albums, R.E.M. continued to build their audience to the point where their 1986 album Life's Rich Pageant would hit #21 and be their first to be certified gold. They accomplished this without having a significant single on the Pop chart (their best effort to-date was the #78 "Radio Free Europe" in 1983). The increased popularity of the band along with the gold album generated anticipation for their fifth album Document. It would be the first of six LPs on which the band would work with producer Scott Litt, who helped put a more crisp, mainstream sound to the band's tracks. This first single got things kicked off and it did well at Rock reaching #2. Over on the Pop chart, the song made a steady climb until it finally became R.E.M.'s first Top 10 hit. That result helped the album also become their first Top 10 reaching #10. Once again their fan base grew and the album became their first to reach platinum status.

ReduxReview:  The band's first three albums were definitely alt-rock affairs that included some lo-fi production and Michael Stipes' mumbling, unintelligible singing over terrific songs that were not necessarily written for the Pop chart. That started to change on Life's Rich Pageant when producer Don Gehman framed the band's more focused tunes in modern production. Scott Litt then continued the transformation with the band also advancing their songwriting skills. It culminated in this first single that was their most focused and direct attempt to create a hooky, radio-ready track that would satisfy critics and old fans while bring on board a whole new audience. It was a definite blast of power from the band that showed that they were more than ready to take their music and their career to the next level.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Much in the way that The Police's "Every Breath You Take" was mistakenly viewed as love song (it was basically about an obsessive stalker), this R.E.M. track was also taken as a love song, which was a misnomer. At its heart, the tune was about someone who uses people over and over. So while radio listeners would dedicate this song to one's that they love ("this one goes out to the one I love"), they seem to dismiss the second line ("a simple prop to occupy my time"). However, the misinterpretation never bothered lead singer/songwriter Michael Stipe. He though the lyrics were quite brutal and didn't really want to record the song, but then listeners took it as some kind of love song, which then made Stipe feel a bit better about the track.


No comments:

Post a Comment