Summer Turns To High
August 3, 2007
Yes, I’m writing about this song because it’s really, really hot out.
Reveal is a “summer album” in a rather self-conscious sort of way. Not only was the band going out of its way to evoke the heat-addled daze of late summer, but Michael Stipe’s lyrics were preoccupied with the same, to the point of being rather literal. For example, “Summer Turns To High” is about summer…turning to…high. Well, sort of. I’m being unfair — there’s a fair bit of emotional turmoil in the song, and the implication that Stipe’s character is throwing himself into lazy, luxurious pleasures as a way of keeping himself from thinking about a soured relationship. The music obviously owes a lot to the Beach Boys in terms of mood and percussion, but the lack of vocal harmony and guazy electronic textures that dominate the piece pull the track away from a more straightforward Brian Wilson homage a la “At My Most Beautiful.”