i have a problem, and all of yer recovery type programs say that the first step is to admit to it. so i will do just that.

i like the new rem single.

it’s good, i don’t know what else to say. except that i do, otherwise what kind of review would this be, eh?

to date, i’ve liked exactly three, count them, three rem songs, which are: “radio free europe”: great chorus; “perfect circle”: sucky band, great song; “at my most beautiful”: tip o’ the hat to beach boys ca. ’65. i’d sum up the reasons i, by and large, hate rem thusly: michael stipe. on one occasion, i essentially stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the man, a long time dream, an opportunity to accost the man, violently if necessary. and, yet, when the moment of truth was upon me i found myself wanting, my hand was mysteriously stayed. perhaps i knew even then what was to come…

when a band enters its third decade of recording, there are usually two routes for them to follow: they stay the path, comfortable with where time has led them, e.g. nick cave and the bad seeds, or they go “back to basics,” “return to their roots” a la u2. by all accounts, r.e.m., at least on this single, have opted for the latter, “imitation of life” sounding like an imit– well, the pun’s so obvious i refuse to insult our collective intelligence. nevertheless, if this is what r.e.m. once sounded like, i fear i may have to trawl through their back catalog. the strings, ducking and dodging around the guitar line, were the first indication that this may actually be worth hearing. then there’s a bit of verse and the chorus begins with something about “sugar cane” but then, and here’s the best part, stipe leaves his pretension at the door and bays a hopeful, optimistic “come on, COME ONNNNN” which, like the best of gregg alexander, makes me want to throw my fist in the air in agreement. from there, it is sent spiraling into the heavens by what i can only call, due to my lack o’ education, a ringing synth solo that sounds for all the world like it’s what that wichita lineman heard on the desolate midwestern plain when he was hanging on the line. cue chorus a few more times and i am utterly hooked.

so, yeah, this new single is alright by me. but so too is the new radiohead album…and more on that when the time calls for it. it’s just been exactly that kind of year: dear reader, it should not surprise you to see me, by year’s end, bopping down the street in a godspeed you black emperor! t-shirt. if there’s one thing, though, that i’ve learned from my time amongst the (REAL!) freaky trigger folks is that everything is worth at least one listen, and that you should never be surprised by your boundless capacity to be surprised.