She Just Wants To Be
June 15, 2007
Right around the time I started this project, I started listening to a lot of the R.E.M. music that I’d mostly ignored in recent years. (Actually, I’d mostly ignored the majority of it — as with a lot of my favorite acts, I tend to stop listening to them for extended periods of time in order to keep things fresh.) Anyway, on my way to visit with a friend who is also a big fan of the band, I listened to most of Reveal, and when I saw him, I just asked him: What exactly is the problem with Reveal? I mean, there’s definitely something wrong with it, but aside from “I’ll Take The Rain,” the songs are pretty good. Some of them are great, even. “She Just Wants To Be” is the perfect example of the Reveal dilemma — there’s some interesting ideas and a decent tune, but it just doesn’t come together. It’s like a beautifully decorated cake that could’ve used a bit more eggs and sugar.
There’s something a bit uncomfortable about the way “She Just Wants To Be” feels simultaneously strident and languorous, and Michael Stripe’s atrocious grammar ruins the lyrics for me. (In fairness, one shouldn’t come to rock music expecting excellent grammar, but “it’s not that the transparency of her earlier incarnations now looked back on weren’t rich and loaded with beautiful vulnerability” is a truly horrendous construction, especially if English is your first language.) It’s about a minute and a half too long, and in concert, Peter Buck extends it further with a guitar solo that is neither impressive or exciting. It’s not entirely unpleasant, but man, it’s hard to imagine someone actively wanting to listen to this song, much less perform it live.