1,000,000

September 19, 2007

Choose the interpretation that suits your needs:

1) The character in “1,000,000” is walking through a graveyard, and he can’t stop thinking about the failures of previous generations, and arrogantly imagines that he — and presumably the rest of the people living in that moment — are more advanced and evolved.  He could live a million years, but he definitely will not.

2)  All of us will die, and most likely be forgotten before too long. However, those headstones, crypts, and ruins will stick around forever. It’s basically a funeral home jingle: “Get a nice monument in the graveyard, and you could ‘live’ a million years!”

3) Shouty shouty shouty rhythmic shouty punky verse, not only deadlier but smarter too! Iiiiiiiiiiii could liiiive a milllllllion years!  (And then you hop around a bit.)

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35 Responses to “1,000,000”

  1. ScottMalobisky Says:

    the oldest man in the world celebrated his 112th birthday yesterday, lives in Tokyo (the oldest documented man) .I bet this song would really grate on the nerves of someone who doesn’t care for REM , not me though cuz’ I love REM.

  2. ScottMalobisky Says:

    bumper sticker: Born again …and again and again and again.

  3. ScottMalobisky Says:

    interpretation 4. just the cocky naivete of unbridled fleeting youth……….sigh……. t’is punky , isn’t it? …. I like the drums.

  4. Elliot H. Says:

    The thing I love about this song is that it’s fun. It’s a sing a long with your friends while not nodding your head punk rock sort of track. R.E.M.’s songs, while deep and beautiful, aren’t always fun.
    I really do love this song, though. According to Last.fm, I’ve listened to this song more than anyone else on their site, which actually scares me a little.

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    I can never quite figure out what JMS is saying in the bridge (?). I always thought it was “Farmer Jan” or “Father Chan” or some such, but it turns out (according to lyrics sites) it is “Ball and chain”.

  6. jim jos Says:

    Even though I am a huge lyric lover (when I wanted to be in a band I picked up the pen and paper, not the guitar or bass) I have always just been able to turn off my for this song and just love it based on feeling and feel alone. So much energy, all in all, probably my favorite Chronic Town song.

    I have often wondered what a full length Chronic Town would have been like, with five or six more songs. It has its own feel, its own identity, I never saw it as a rough draft for Murmur.

    To me, this song would sound out of place on Murmur as would most of CT. But maybe thats just because I have most songs “stamped” with the album in my mind.

  7. jim jos Says:

    it should read “turn off my mind” see, I really did just that by simply writing the song up!

  8. Mr Cup Says:

    I wanted this to be about aliens…so much.

    I tend to lean towards jim jos and #3.
    It’s a ‘vibe’ thing.

  9. Kirsten Says:

    3. Definately 3.

    Believe it or not this is actually my least favourite from CT. Having said that, I’d like to remind you all of the brilliance of all the other songs on this album. I do love it, it’s great to sing along to, and definately great for jumping around to. I always just felt the chrous lets it down. “I could live a million years”? A bit too optimistic for my liking.

    Just touching of Jim Jos’ comment of six more songs for Chronic Town (not in any particular order):

    1. Mystery To Me
    2. Body Count
    3. Hey, Hey Nadine (my middle name’s Nadine so I’m kind of prejeduce towards this song)
    4. PSA (the original Bad Day)
    5. Theme From Two Steps Onward
    6. Romance

    So as you can all see, it would’ve still been just as brilliant! There is not a dud amoungst Chronic Town, and adding these would have kept it that way.

  10. ScottMalobisky Says:

    jimjos , turn off your mind ,surrender to the void..yeah , Man , when I first saw the lyrics to this song I was shocked , bizarre almost , does not fit the music at all (did someone say Drive ?) in the sense that it’s a very death tinged lyric set in a cemetary –a down subject set to very raucous music– but really that is the way it is when you are that young and talented and healthy, THE GREAT TRIFECTA,..and wild, add “rich” later, death is so cool cuz’ death is so far away assuming normal circumstances, so you get high and spit in it’s eye flouting the dark shadow of it’s wingspan across the sun )…..The Chili Peppers , “Centuries are what it meant to me, A cemetary where I marry the sea” (those guys are on drugs)..Or one of my all time Jim Morrison marriages of words, “I cannot live through each slow century of her moving. !!!” (screamed at very loud volumes), from The Celebration Of The Lizard.

    My least favorite from CT also , Kirsten , but one of them has to be my least favorite I guess. And Kirsten not one of those six songs you mentioned there have I ever heard……….I am deprived for now (and depraved)..

  11. Ignis Sol Says:

    I like “1,000,000”
    Like a million songs before
    This one, too, lives on

  12. Kirsten Says:

    Bodycount is a masterpiece. I’ve only heard live bootlegs of it, but it’s really energetic, bordering on “punk-ish”

    Best line: All the young kids are learning to dance in a combat zone.

  13. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    1,000,000 is great. It really is one of the few songs that truly show that REM does have roots in the punk world of the late 70’s and early 80’s. People who came onto the band later have a hard time understanding that connection, but truly a product of their era (in the best way – took the “cool” style, made it their own, morphed in into something else). However, songs like 1,000,000 make it easier to see why many 90’s alternative bands, that looked back at punk as a blueprint or inspiration, still admired REM.

  14. Paul Alferink Says:

    There is no best line. Like “I got my mind set on you” there aren’t enough lyrics to qualify. I mean, the best line of End Game is “Badadadadadada Hi Hi Hi” Not really much else to go by. . .

    1. Mystery To Me Not really a good song, and lacks the REMness of an REM song.

    2. Body Count Not too bad.

    3. Hey, Hey Nadine Never heard it.

    4. PSA (I like this, but I don’t think it existed until LRP)

    5. Theme From Two Steps Onward (Bland)

    6. Romance “S’okay”

    I think “All the Right Friends” has it’s moments, but it, too, lacks that REM quality that all the songs on Chronic Town and beyond had. A certain, how you say, Je ne sais qua.

  15. maclure Says:

    Shockingly, I only ever seem to really remember Gardening at Night and Carnival of Sorts from Chronic Town. Listened to it again the other day and was blown away by 1,000,000 – so edgy, punky. In short, it’s number 3.

  16. Kirsten Says:

    Hey, Hey Nadine’s not great. Like I said, I have ulterior motives for liking that one. Body Count is fantastic, and Mystery to Me has that outstanding line “You feel so old, I feel so new”. 2 Steps Onward is brilliant even if just due to the bass line.

    Chronic Town is perfect the way it is, but with those other songs floating around I’m surprised they didn’t include them just to make a full length album.

  17. Kirsten Says:

    I think a lot of early REM comes under number 3. The words were hard to understand, so the whole general meaning of the song was often lost. You picked up a few good lines to shout out whilst jumping around. It’s the great music and the odd cool line that made REM so uniquely brilliant. And fun.

  18. ScottMalobisky Says:

    I REALLY love All The Right Friends, the dramatic chord change with “I don’t wanna be with you anymore, I just don’t want you anymore..”..really powerful, one of REM’s most dynamic and annihilating moments. Cuts me in two every time…(or is that a key change, nobody ever anwerered my question from Stand or Sidewinder ??)

  19. Kirsten Says:

    I think it’s just a chord change, not a key change.

  20. Kirsten Says:

    Pretty sure Stand is a key change.

    Not sure which part of Sidewinder you’re talking about..

  21. Kirsten Says:

    Oh, I’ve been thinking, there IS a key change in All The Right Friends towards the end “I know you say, maybe someday…”, but not where you’re saying.

  22. Kirsten Says:

    Ha! I’ve turned into Scott M! Having a conversation with myself.

    Conversation Fear.

    (Sorry I have no work to do)

  23. xman Says:

    THIS SONG works so well with psilocybin. it’s those drums, man.

  24. Paul Alferink Says:

    Stand has two key changes near the end of the song. The second is going into “Stand in the place where you are”

    There is no key change in Sidewinder

    There is no key change in All the Right Friends. . .

    And really, All the Right friends just has that one moment, luckily, they repeat it. Its a really nice moment, Everything else is kind of bland.

  25. Mr Cup Says:

    All the right friends is a great, fun song to play on guitar.

  26. xman Says:

    shaking through has a key change in the last chorus.

  27. maclure Says:

    Star Me Kitten might have a key change – around where he says “keys cut three for the price of one”, the protagonist is probably changing his keys… (oh, I’m sorry!)

  28. ScottMalobisky Says:

    ………..having a converstaion with myself this morning while polishing my turds……

  29. OhLife Says:

    The early live bootleg versions of this song are BRILLIANT. My fave is found on REM Rising Live at Harry’s Hideaway in Toronto 1984. Track this DOWN!

  30. Justin Says:

    The live take of 1,000,000 on the bonus disc of …And I Feel Fine is absolutely killer. I never gleaned the line “not only deadlier but smarter, too” until I heard that, and I fucking love, love, love that line.

  31. narcizo Says:

    ..try the cover by the Band of Susans. Not bad at all!

  32. Q Clums Says:

    Whenever I hear the middle eight of 1,000,000 I just wanna sing:

    “Make those donuts with extra grease/this batch is for the Chief of Police.” over the top. I think this piece of lyrical thievery is included in the excellent live version on the …And I Feel Fine 2CD set.

    The lyrics is lifted from a track by San Fran’s obscure finest – Pop-O-Pies. It comes from a delightful live ‘favourite’ called Fascists Eat Donuts, and those two lines are it’s only lyrics. Oh yeah, and the song only has one chord as well.

    Go buy Pop-o-pies.

  33. Brian C. Says:

    I think it’s about a graveyard, like all the songs on “Chronic Town.”


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