The Worst Joke Ever
September 3, 2007
When I started this project, I figured this one would be easy — “The Worst Joke Ever? More like “The Worst R.E.M. Song Ever,” ha ha! — but I’ve decided that approach is lazy, unfair, and actually kinda untrue. If I had to isolate the single worst song to appear on an official R.E.M. album, my pick as of right now is “Make It All OK.” Don’t get me wrong, though. The song is undoubtedly a total dud, but it’s not embarrassing and misguided, just sort of clumsy and half-baked. It mainly fails because the band is simultaneously trying waaaaay too hard, and not at all. Michael Stipe’s words and vocals are awkward and unflattering, and even when the tune lifts up a bit, the track feels tepid and limp. Quite simply, it sounds like an unfinished demo slapped in the middle of a proper record, rather than relegated to the b-side of a single as it surely would’ve been in the old days.