Night Garden: Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe [R.E.M.]1981-1996 Song-by-song*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, May 23, 2021.

  1. "Drive" is such a beautifully done song. I love the way the lyrics evoke a sense of passion and pain over this impending loss, where the feeling is still there but the fire has gone out, and there's this clinging to what was in the face of what is. The simple, understated acoustic instrumentation brings the lyrics and the emotion in the singing to the fore to really great effect. It really is a great tune.

    Oh, hang on a sec -- I thought we were talking about "Drive" by Bic Runga -- sorry, my bad. "Drive" by R.E.M. is an overlong dirge that's ok at best.

  2. Greek Nacho

    Greek Nacho Crustaceous Cheapskate

    United States
    You were born in the '60s. I don't believe for a second that you've never tried psychedelics!
  3. Summer of Malcontent

    Summer of Malcontent Forum Resident

    Second best, after producing and playing bass on this marvel:

    While we're dancing, note that R.E.M. also released a promo 12" of Drive at the time featuring two remixes ('Primary' and 'Secondary'). They're pretty dubby.

    The release of 'Drive' as a single after the general awfulness of Out of Time was a huge relief, and it remains one of the best tracks on the album after all these years, so I'll give it a 5.
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  4. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    I truly haven't. I always have bad reactions to prescription drugs. I am terrified of drugs in general.
  5. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    It took me awhile to appreciate “Drive”. I really didn’t like it on first listen. It was very disappointing to my ears after how much I loved just about everything on Out Of Time. I thought it was an odd choice for a single and for an album opener. The thundering drums and slashing guitars felt like a ploy to tap in to the grunge scene.

    Stipe’s vocal and the strings save the song. But, it’s not a favorite of mine. 3/5.
  6. Greek Nacho

    Greek Nacho Crustaceous Cheapskate

    United States
    I thought people got a contact high just living through the '60s. Guess not. Hmmm. You learn something new every day.
    kouzie likes this.
  7. Bob C

    Bob C Forum Resident

    So Cal
    I like "Drive" a lot. 5/5. It may not be a typical single like "Radio Song" or "Stand" but that's a good thing for me. I think their swipe from "Rock On" is brilliant. I like the live arrangement too. It's almost like a different song.
  8. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    New York City
    Those Dragnet episodes featuring hippies may have misled you.
    crustycurmudgeon likes this.
  9. Greek Nacho

    Greek Nacho Crustaceous Cheapskate

    United States
    Just Dennis Hopper.
  10. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far.

    New York
    I know more people in their 20s that have dropped acid including myself - had poor reactions for months, so not since I was 17 than people older

    Then again I don't casually ask people, you get high?
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  11. renderj

    renderj Forum Resident

    Drive: a curious choice for lead single perhaps, but I was intrigued enough to buy the lp the week it came out. It makes sense as a lead off track because, much like the music during the opening titles of a movie, this is setting the tone for what’s to follow.

    The political references seemed obvious to me even as a teenager. I also think the rock tropes quoted in the lyrics give a sense that this could be “the last rock and roll record.”

    The dream is over. Move on. Just drive. See where this road may take us.
  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Drive"

    Average: 4.2986
    The MEZ likes this.
  13. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Try Not To Breathe", written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe; produced by Scott Litt and R.E.M.

    R.E.M. – Try Not to Breathe Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

    "Try Not To Breathe"'s music was written during the late Out Of Time era by Peter Buck as a possible accompaniment to Michael's "Nightswimming" lyric, but Michael ended up using Mike's music instead. In the end, of course, "Nightswimming" was held over for Automatic for the People. In the John Keane demo stages of the album the was inadvertantly titled by Peter, who was probably the primary writer. Originally Peter himself the demo was called "6/8 Sailor" and later the song was entitled "Passion" by Michael as he was planning to use a different set of lyrics.
    Michael has said the lyric of "Try Not to Breathe" was inspired by his elderly grandmother: it's his imagination of an 87 year old woman at the end of her life contemplating suicide or euthanasia.

    Mike (Mills)
    Michael Stipe: vocals
    Peter Buck: acoustic and electric guitars, dulcimers, feedback...and "all kinds of crazy stuff."
    Mike Mills: organ, bass, vocals
    Bill Berry: Drums, percussion, vocal

    *John Lennon was an obscure singer/songwriter from Liverpool England who was in an influential sixties rock band know...those guys with the moustaches...someone help me....
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  14. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

  15. Greek Nacho

    Greek Nacho Crustaceous Cheapskate

    United States
    Try Not to Breathe

    One of two songs in 6/8 on this album. Gives it a nice swing, interesting percussion at the beginning. I can hear a Scandinavian sound almost. Grog, pirates, argh! The lyrics don't say that though, they bring it back to folksy territory along with the acoustic guitar. Some of my favorite Stipe lines are in this song. "Don't shiver now, why do you shiver now?" "Some to fly over my grave again." Or the simple "I have seen things that you will never see." She's so old she has seen things that will never come back! Mills' falsetto backing vocals are a definite highlight as well.

    As far as the meaning, I think Stipe is leaving out some things. I mean, why is she shivering? Well first we have to think she's cold. Where is it cold? Greenland. But that doesn't make sense. Russia? Sure, but what would she be doing there? At last it hit me. The North Pole! She's lived a full life, and her last journey is upwards to see the mythical entity himself, Santa Claus.

    I'm so clever it's almost embarrassing.

  16. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    New York City
    "Try Not to Breathe" - R.E.M. steps back into 6/8 time. This is way better than "Drive", but still plodding. Lyrically and musically, it's just not particularly memorable, but at least it's not terrible. 2.5/5.
  17. Stillin Rockville

    Stillin Rockville Forum Resident

    a farm in Iowa
    It's a pretty song- there's just a touch of Gordon Lightfoot in the strummed guitar, especially right upfront before Michael starts singing. I don't find the lyrics unusually profound, but credit where it's due- as they so often did R.E.M. was doing something few others attempted and succeeding at it.
  18. J_D__

    J_D__ Forum Resident

    Huntersville, NC
    Try Not to Breathe 3.5/5, a decent song but, not a stand out track on the album.
  19. Smash

    Smash Forum Resident

    United States
    One of my favorite episodes of Song Exploder went over this song: Episode 125: R.E.M.

    5/5 song in my book.
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  20. gjp163

    gjp163 Forum Resident

    Feels very much like a throwback to Fables all strummed chords, 6/8 time. No accordion though. Scott Litt's production is great. Love the lyrics as end of life with 3 part harmonies. Not so keen on the moaning middle 8. One of the better ones on the records. Slightly better than Drive so 4.2
  21. Exitmusic

    Exitmusic Forum Resident

    Leicester U.K
    Try Not To Breathe 5/5

    One of my favorite R.E.M songs period. Lyrically it could be one of Michael's best as it tells the story of an old woman looking back on her life. I've always thought the hi-hat at the beginning of the song was supposed to resemble a clock and the passing of time.

    Mike also delivers some amazing backing vocals during the 2nd and 3rd chorus which really elevate the song.

    So on album which has amazing highlights this one is definitely up towards the top for me.
    renderj, factory44, robcar and 10 others like this.
  22. This is definitely a step up from "Drive" but still not up there with songs I really like. The intro and verse is rock solid, but the chorus and the middle eight lose me.

    Brian Kelly, prymel, Al Gator and 4 others like this.
  23. Exitmusic

    Exitmusic Forum Resident

    Leicester U.K
    Here's the review of AFTP from Select Magazine here in the UK when the album was released.

    Select Magazine Website

    I think it's fair to say the reviewer liked it!
    neilpatto, ARK, Bug80 and 1 other person like this.
  24. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Leeds, UK
    To give the devil his due, dlemaudit only gave it 1/5.

    Try Not to Breathe

    A beautiful celtic-flavoured dirge with a sense of coldness and claustrophobia. If the album is "dark" this is the darkest point of the album already. Lightness follows.
    When I first heard this album I remember being nonplussed by these first two songs but now I think they're among the best on the album and brave choices to lead off with. 5/5
  25. Dantalian's Toes

    Dantalian's Toes Well-Known Member

    Try Not To Breathe - Blew my mind when I first heard it and love it today. Song flows beautifully, Mills is incredible on this and Buck's feedback work is great and a consistent highlight on this album. 5/5
    renderj, dlemaudit, ARK and 10 others like this.

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