All The Way To Reno (You’re Gonna Be A Star)

November 7, 2007

The irony of “All The Way To Reno” is that no one actually goes to that city to become a star, but the song isn’t remotely mean-spirited or condescending. In fact, in spite of a bit of good-natured smirking, this is one of Michael Stipe’s better pep-talk songs. The singer clearly has a great deal of respect for the tenacity of his underdog subject, and his focus is placed more on the character’s search for freedom and self-expression rather than conventional notions of success. When Stipe sings “you know what you are, you’re gonna be a star,” it’s less about a narcissistic desire to become a celebrity, and more about achieving a certain level of grace and self-belief.

Peter Buck has described this song as being like “Jimmy Webb on Mars,” which is a good, pithy way of describing its sound. Like “The Lifting” and “I’ve Been High” before it, “All The Way To Reno” is a classic style pop ballad dolled up in retro-futuristic drag. After the song ends on Reveal, the album immediately takes a turn in another direction, which is unfortunate given the unique aesthetic and high quality of the record’s opening trio.


81 Responses to “All The Way To Reno (You’re Gonna Be A Star)”

  1. ScottMalobisky Says:

    had me from the get go , this one , seductive , love the phrasing of the vocal, love the “dusted the non-believers”, love the strange dreamy tempo or what ever that feeling is (not technically speaking) that pervades this they’re playing behind a thick veil or in a giant vat of syrup .

  2. Rich Says:

    The first thing that struck me when I heard this song was, “Wait…didn’t I just hear this song two tracks ago?” And indeed, the verses from “The Lifting” and “Reno” have some blatant musical similarities. This clouded my judgment for a while, as I deemed “Lifting” to be the superior of the two.

    At this point, though, I’ve grown to like “Reno” for what it is. I don’t immediately think to compare it to “Lifting” every time I hear it, and if I had to, I might now say “Reno” is actually the better song. Where “Lifting” suffers a bit from the ridiculously over-the-top production, “Reno” comes closer to sounding like classic R.E.M. I’m not generally a big fan of Michael in “pep talk” mode, but this lyric is just too — well, sweet — to hate. As you point out, the album shifts in tone at this point, and for the worse in my opinion. This just emphasizes the qualities of “Reno” even more.

  3. Scott Says:

    I like to think that the characters in those first three songs (maybe two people, maybe three) are destined to meet — in Reno or in space or somewhere. But despite the shift in style that occurs after “Reno,” the rest of “Reveal” remains about identity and place, the focus of the first three songs. Even “I’ll Take the Rain” and “Beat a Drum,” the sort-of love ballads, ask for affirmation as a way of defining the speaker rather than the relationship. “Reno” isn’t the best song here, but it’s the clearest statement of intent, a declaration of arrival. It’s a coming-out song (not necessarily a gay coming out; as on “Beachball,” if sexual identity is the subtext, it’s more an outing than a coming out) in the old-fashioned debutante sense, the triumph of the tinfoil tiara.

  4. xman Says:

    ehh, this is a pretty dull song dressed up by a lot of pretty’s not offensively bad, but so basic and by the numbers…it’s like they just learned how to write songs, the rhythms, the way peter slowly strums one chord to the next and back again..

    this one’s prolly just too late period r.e.m. for it’s own good.

  5. David T. Says:

    Two moments still leap out at me when I listen to this one: (1) the “You know who you are” solo vocal by Michael in the bridge, which really cuts through (less “produced” sounding than most of the rest of the vocals in the song), and (2) the Mills harmonies that kick in on “star” during the last chorus…just soaring–I always crank the volume at that point.

  6. milesy Says:

    I really dislike Reno. It belongs in a very small category: REM songs that I don’t like (almost all of them are on Reveal).

    This has nothing to do with lyrics, and everything to do with ‘feel’- too medium-paced, no rough edges, too yellow, sweet, sunshiny and bleached.
    All of this makes me feel depressed and low when I hear it (unlike Low itself, which lifts me up… And Up is bleak, but a great place to be).

    And while I’m ranting, what is all this stuff about Reveal starting with three great songs and then going downhill? The Lifting, sure, but the next two? Here’s the way to listen to Reveal- The Lifting, skip to SJWTB; soak in the album’s outstanding song, Saturn Return; maintain interest for a couple more tracks (well, Imitation of Life is Driver 8 in disguise), and then drift off and do something else.

    There. I have lit the blue touchpaper, and will now retreat to the swings where you will find me swigging lemonade aggressively.

  7. xman Says:

    yeah, the last two albums are severely lacking in edge.
    the production is an obvious detriment, but a lot songs themselves are pretty unspectacular in terms of musicality. the biggest trappings of the band in the past decde has really been that without a drummer like bill to spruce up the tempo and rhythm, a bunch of songs are stuck being these boring mid-tempo ballads, like something a kid recorded on four track, just drenched in goopy procution…totally unsexy.
    plus, the bridges have traditionally been the weak point in many r.e.m. songs, but that fact is totally thrown in your face by most of the band’s 98-06 output to an almost laughable level.

    there’s a big difference in the way the melodic insruments in the early songs interacted witih each other compared to the eye-rolling level of precticability in songs like “reno”, “lotus”, “walk unafraid”, “chorus and the ring”, “i’ll take the rain”, etc…not all of em are bad songs, but they are definitely cut from a diferent cloth than the really good stuff.

  8. Jared W Says:

    Hmmm… I love this song. It’s my favorite on the album, with “Disappear” being a close second. I imagine I will get some flak for this.

    I really like the bounce of the guitar, the touch of canastas, the generally deep echoey sound of those drippy bells going off into the distance. I actually think the chorus is the weakest part. But I dunno, it sounds different from most things I have heard, and for that, I am into it.

  9. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Wow, there are some real differeces of opinion about this song (and Reveal in general). I have never really loved “Reno”. When I first heard the album it stood out to me because of the smirky vocal (as has been mentioned who go’s to Reno to be a star?), however, this song has not stood up well over time for me. It always sounds spacey/sludgy (and not necessarily in a good way, although I think the sound of this song has potential) but the song needs more forward propulsion and a little more melody in my opinion. It’s listenable, but not great.

    As to the statement that the first 3 tracks on Reveal are very good and then its downhill, I would have to disagree whole-heartedly. While I love “I’ve Been High” and feel both “Lifting” and “Reno” suffer the same maladies: over-production, lack of forward movement, and a spacey/sludgy feel that could have worked but doesn’t really. I think that the best songs on Reveal are still coming: She Just Wants To Be, Saturn Return, Beat A Drum (along with I’ve Been High).

    All that said, Reveal is easily MY least favorite REM album.

  10. Kevin Says:

    Yeah, Reveal is my least favorite too, much worse than Around the Sun, IMHO. I actually can’t stand “The Lifting” and always skip right through it. “I’ve Been High,” “All the Way to Reno,” and “She Just Wants to Be” (which I appreciated more after hearing it live) are all decently strong tracks, and “Saturn Return” is assuredly the high point of the album. (I’ll stand by my review of it from a few years ago: “In some ways, ‘Saturn Return’ is a darker, twisted version of ‘You are the Everything,’ for those moments in a long road trip when peace yields to unease, shadows darken into doubts, and your thoughts become your own worst enemy.“) But the rest, except maybe the lyrics of “Chorus and the Ring” (which I quite like as the live, spoken-word opening to “Country Feedback”) and the early Twin Peaksy moments of “Disappear”, is just awful, Pet Sounds-lite filler. “Summer Turns to High,” “Beachball,” “Imitation of Life”? Bleah.

  11. narcizo Says:

    A good song. Reveal is very pleasant, but me thinks it has many fillers. I disagree with MP about the “great opening trio” followed by weaker songs. The first half of the lp is actually very good; for example, my album favourite is “Disappear”.
    REM and not Pat McCarthy are mostly responsible for the production, and my guess is that it has to do with Joey Waronker’s role inside the compositions. They wouldn’t give him much room, they didn’t want him to sound like Berry, so they overfilled the songs with postproduction jibberish that sometimes works (like “Disappear” IMHO), but mostly doesn’t. If you listen to live recordings with the same lineup (the first that comes to mind is from Glastonbury ’99), you ‘ll hear a completely different drummer, more liberated and eager to show his indeed great talent.
    Sorry for the long and perhaps irrelevant post.

  12. Dark Bob Says:

    I like this song. The best cut on their poorest album. But what I really like is the video for this song. Shot in a high school. It looks like the band and the kids were having a great time. Doesn’t come off as staged but very genuine. A real “Feel Good” kind of video.

  13. xman Says:

    for fun, this is my tracklisting for an album that takes the best songs from the last two…i give you, reveal the sun

    1- the lifting
    2- i’ve been high
    3- imitation of life
    4- beat a drum (dalkey version)
    5- electron blue
    6- saturn return
    7- make it all ok
    8- ascent of man
    9- hispeed train
    10- i wanted 2 b wrong
    11- leaving new york
    12- around the sun

  14. lenny Says:

    Honestly, I sort of lost interest in the band from “Hi-Fi” on. So here’s my compilation, “New Adventures Up in Revealing the Sun”:


    Just kidding — when I get more free time, I will give the more recent albums a chance — I just am being impatient as I wait for Matthew to get back to the earlier material! So here is my plea – something else from Lifes Rich Pageant, Reckoning or Green, please!

  15. lenny Says:

    Oh man, I know people are going to rip into me for that one — so here’s a reminder, I said I was “just kidding” about my compilation. I’ve been listening to NAIHF a lot this week, so I’m determined to give the last 4 albums a chance in the near future, really.

  16. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    lenny, New Adventures and Up are excellent but may take some sinking in time. Reveal and ATS have their moments, but have some filler too. And man, I miss the guitar AND drums on those 2 albums.

  17. Dave s Says:

    I think if you take out SJWTB, Disappear, and the raining song, you have a tremendous disc.

  18. jft Says:

    I don’t know what most of you have against reveal. me personally, I think that it is a quite good album (with two terribly boring fillers actually, Beachball and Summer Turns To High) and especially contains some amazing songs, such as SYWTB, i’ve been high and I’ll Take The Rain. the first inconsistent album to me really was ATS, i can’t understand the disliking of reveal. about the post-berry albums, i’d say Up > Reveal >>>> ATS. hope the new album will break that order 🙂

  19. lenny Says:

    Thank you, Beethoven Was Deaf. I’m definitely still in the sinking in period with NAIHF — I’m having trouble getting past the fact that it seems like Michael does more ‘talking’ than real singing on the album. I miss the older Stipe that would really belt out a tune.

    Thanks for the advice — and by the way, if I hadn’t accidentally found this website, I might not even be listening to NAIHF. But, all the great posts (thanks Matthew) and everyone’s comments have inspired me to even get CD versions of all the album and tapes that I had from the IRS years (and to give the newer releases a try, too.)

  20. lenny Says:

    OK, I meant the “younger Stipe” not older.

  21. David T. Says:

    narcizo – as an occasional drummer, I always enjoy reading your insights into that side of REM-ia. Thanks!

    And I, like you, rank Disappear as my favorite on Reveal…I heard it in advance of the CD’s release (back in the Napster days) and loved it from the get-go.

  22. 2fs Says:

    My problem with Reveal is its sequencing: too many droney midtempo songs in a row – most of ’em in the same key. I listened to it again the other day, a bit more distractedly (I was working), and while most of the songs range from okay to pretty good on their own, as an album it just wears. As for this song particularly: I dunno, the whole “pep talk” thing is kind of annoying, if not condescending – maybe I’m just a cynical bastard, but choruses that talk about “being a star” sort of automatically fall into the cringeworthy category for me.

    As for all those folks saying Reveal is the worst R.E.M. album: it was. Until they released Around the Sun. (Haven’t heard the new live one – but live albums don’t really count in such evaluations, I’d say.)

  23. Elliot H. Says:

    My opinion of Reveal seems to differ from most other’s on this site. I love the disc, it’s definitely in my top 5 R.E.M. albums (Along with Murmur, Reckoning, Fables, and NAIHF, not in that order).

    Anyway, I do love this song, very psychedelic and spacey.

  24. jim jos Says:

    siding in with the ones who like this track. Best moment, for me, is the bridge. Jumps out at you, just the way that Stipe sings it. I always sing along to it, whether I make a point of it or not. Reno is one of the better songs on Reveal.

    I love the video too. Shot by Michael Moore. Most of the kids in the video probably had no idea who this band was. The moment where both Mills and Buck go into the guidance cons. office and come out with brooms because they suggested they wanted to be musicians, is one of my favorite moments from any video ever. Brilliant.

  25. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Saturn Return , in the conclusion I’ve come to from following this blog, is the Dallas Cowboys , or perhaps more appropriately , the New York Yankees, of REM songs. One either loves it or detests it, it seems.

  26. Kirsten Says:

    Saturn Returns is the STANDOUT of Reveal!! That song would stand up on any album as one of the best. For the record, I quite like Reveal – you just need to give it some time.

    As for Reno, I’m a lover of this song. As soon as it starts, I start bobbing my head up & down to the beat and tapping my foot. Actually, I’m doing it now just thinking about it. Excellent driving song, too. I know if I ever drive to Reno, I’ll be humming this song all the way….

  27. Ignis Sol Says:

    Kirsten, that would be a long and difficult ride to Reno from where you are. I am sure you would just keep on humming! 🙂

    I do enjoy this one. “Reno” is a good roadtripper.

    Re: ”fastened on your sleeve..”

    What is Michael’s obsession with the word “sleeve?”

    It is so many of their songs.

  28. Kirsten Says:

    I’ll sing Airportman at the airports, Departure on the plane, and Reno in the car…..

    Speaking of sleeves – I love it when Michael wipes his nose on his sleeve in the Turn You Inside-Out video. Don’t know why, but I think it’s gorgeous.

    But then, I’m just kinda sad. 🙂

  29. maclure Says:

    Hello folks, a good thread is this started by a good post which nailed how I felt about the song pretty well. Im confused about who I agree with or disagree with but in my opinion, if you scratch beneath the surface of the dubs and synths, Reno is actually a properly good song, structurally and lyrically and contains an “appropriate” bridge which does the job fine (unlike some other REM bridges). It needs to be trimmed by 30 seconds and also speeded up a fraction to be better. Actually, the live version sounds to me slightly more beefed up and does the job…

    Best on Reveal: Disappear, perhaps.
    Video: I too like the video. I think having it shot by and with young people dovetails with the songs themes nicely. They’re all planning their futures, perhaps in places like Reno…
    Reveal’s place in REM’s canon. I like the album a lot but don’t seem to be able to place it ABOVE many other albums except for ATS. Maybe it ties with Fables for me.

    I was sure Matthew was gonna post a Monster or AFTP song as they are falling behind. He seems to be circling the later REM albums and I expect him to dive and with eagle-like precision pick off an unsuspecting song from one of those two albums – perhaps he’s just taking his time before swooping for the kill.

    Michael is obsessed with sleeves, gravity, dreams and falling.

  30. Mr Cup Says:

    Oh milesy….I’m laughing so much it hurts! Don’t forget to crush the plastic cup after each serving! And throw it away roughly!!!
    I’m gonna keep watch from a safe distance

    .>>..medium-paced, no rough edges, too yellow, sweet, sunshiny and bleached…
    Spot on, and that’s exactly why I like it. It’s just a really enjoyable, lazy driving song.

    Ignis – I haven’t noticed the sleeve thing. Examples?

  31. Mr Cup Says:

    I may be dragged over to the swings for Disappear. It has a lot of support!

  32. Kirsten Says:

    Disappear’s just cool in the way the words are stop-start.
    lost. invisible. here. etc..

    Peter once said (not a word-perfect quote): “Anyone who goes to Reno to become a star is my idea of a loser. No one who goes to Reno will ever be a star” I thought that was a bit harsh, that may have shattered a few teenage dreams and offended some others.

  33. Dark Bob Says:

    Alright, I’m going to do it once more. I’m going to listen to Reveal from start to finish. I have tried to get into this record. I remember when Fables came out, it took me dozens of listens to really start loving it. Now it’s my favorite. Some records just have to grow on you. I have tried and tried with Reveal, but continue to find it boring and tedious to listen to. However, after reading all your comments over the past few months I’m going to give it another try.

  34. Ignis Sol Says:

    Mr. Cup, are you teasing or serious? It doesn’t matter some examples besides “Reno” are “Man on the Moon,” “The Great Beyond,” “Bad Day,” “Pretty Persuasion,” “Perfect Circle,” are there more, friends?

    He is also obsessed with fire, film, heels….

    I think it is pretty cool that there is diversity in his consistency.

  35. ScottMalobisky Says:

    and of course we got the coolest sleeve thing of all , the I Remember California sleeves up and sleeves back down in Tourfilm……THERE’S that edge , oh , that was a few years ago I guess

    maclure, I think the fact that this song sounds like it needs to be speeded up a “fraction of a second” is very much a part of it’s appeal to me (I know exacty what you’re referring to there)..Sounds like –if one can imagine—there are microscopic hands or hooks holding back the soundwaves, like the sound waves are aware of themselves , making a conscious effort to fight this force against them, propel forward , like a million tiny paramecium in wet paint; there’s a tension there, thus the effect. I think that if it was speeded up that fraction of a second it would make the song much less tantalizing…(Quite frankly–and I really need to refrain a bit from these constant drug references but –to me Stipe sounds like he’s high as a kite on cocaine in this song , in the verses I mean , not the refrain , not that I think he was because I REALLY don’t ….but maybe that impression was some sorta conscious effect that he was shooting for in his delivery, maybe it’s just the atmosphere of the song in general, something the band was actively trying to do as a whole, the feeling they wanted for this song to convey…I mean look at some of the lyrics in Imitation Of Life, for chrissakes…..sugarcane , tasted good , Hollywood, stuff that it is impossible to not speculate in that direction if one has even half a mind , just too obvious. Actually , a lot of Reveal sounds like that too me .. Like they are just floating on a great cocaine high , almost pretentious , out of touch with the common bloaks. And I mean that with the utmost respect.)

    P.S. Find a way to get paid for your hobby and you will be a star.

  36. Mr Cup Says:

    Ignis – I couldn’t think of any and knew that I would go ‘aaggh, of course’. Which is exactly what I did. Thanks for the research. I was actually thinking along the lines of Bisky up there with the sleeve rolling from Tourfilm. One of the best parts too. Quite disturbing.

    And Bisky, I’ve been working on that ‘get paid for your hobby’ thing for a while. Sure makes a difference!
    Forgot who said it, but “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If it pays reasonably, sure.

  37. Martijn Says:

    With the odd exception I didn’t like “Reveal” much at all at first. However, a few weeks after its release I went on holiday to the Caribbean, and it was one of the few records I’d brought with me. I listened to it on the beach, sipping on a cocktail, watching people having fun on the sand and in the water and it just clicked. I love it still as their holiday album.

  38. Mr Cup Says:

    Beachball makes me want to drink. I know everyone here dislikes it, but I can taste the Margaritas on my tongue whenever I hear it.


  39. I love Beachball! I once listened to it on my iPod while paddling in the Portuguese sea. Probably not a very clever idea, but the breeze on my face… beautiful moment. One of those music memories I’ll never forget.

  40. Paul Alferink Says:

    I like Beachball a lot.

    I love Reveal. I love it’s lazy, meandering way. Love it. Love it. Love it.

    Although I hate Saturn Returns, which was the first REM album tracks I actually hate. Never listen to it anymore.

    This is a really fantastic song. Love the beautiful Irony. of course, she’s not going to be a star. It will end sadly. She’s horribly misguided. But so optimist and sure of herself as only youth can be.

    Best Lyric:
    you were so sugar sweet
    you may as well have had ‘kick me’
    fastened on your sleeve

    As if the title didn’t sum up the song, those lines do it beautifully.

  41. Paul Alferink Says:

    I also should add, my wife, who is not a big REM fan, loves this song. It’s the only REM song on her iPod.

  42. Dark Bob Says:

    Listened again. Still can’t get into it. I think 2fs is right, it’s the sequencing.

  43. clare Says:

    REM does elevator music!! I actually like Reno, it is the top of the few songs I like least on Reveal (Beachball & Beat a drum are I’m afraid my least favourite, not only of this album but probably of their entire catalogue).
    I do think this album screams “summer” generally, & Reno just fits perfectly into that mood. I heard Michael say at a concert that they were going to play this song because it is Peter’s favourite to play. Couldn’t quite work out if he was being sarcastic as it doesn’t seem to be the most taxing of guitar inputs.
    Plus got to love any song that allows for a little Stipe dancing in the middle!!

  44. clare Says:

    Sorry got to add that last night there was the most fantastic sunset around my neck of the woods, I actually went high up on the hills to watch it in the car & had REM Live playing on CD, there is no better way to hear it I can tell you, twas like they were actually playing just for moi!

  45. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Beachball is EASILY my least favorite REM song. Ick!

  46. Bert Echo Says:

    As David T mentioned earlier, the chorus at the end is brilliant with the Mills backing vocals and the ‘water cooler’ noises. The instrumental outro is really good too, I wish it extended a few more seconds.

  47. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Question: I don’t drink, do you think this hampers my enjoyment of the mood and tone of Beachball? Am I missing something? I’m being serious. Any thoughts?

  48. Steve R Says:

    I’d like to thank Matthew for all of his hard work, excellent commentary and setting up this forum for fans to discuss REM. I have enjoyed reading the reviews and responses over the past months. I just have some comments about reviews and commentary, in general. Many people love album X and don’t care for album Y and others think just the opposite. With REM, I think that these feelings are exacerbated by the fact that their music is so emotionally intense and personal, both because of the oft times oblique lyrics and the effect of the interaction of the music itself and Stipe’s voice. I believe that one’s emotional state and life circumstances at the time of listening to a “new” REM album is more crucial to one’s opinion about a set of songs than with other musical acts. In addition, I have always maintained that when you have first heard a record has a huge bearing on the REM experience. For instance, if you are a younger fan and first experienced REM with Reveal, you will probably have a far different opinion of the entire library when you listened to it all for the first time in 2004 than if you heard the albums in sequence from the beginning. In that case, the band experience seems to be more “organic” with each album being special (for good or bad) in relation to the body of work before it and you have a year or two to anticipate what the next album might be like. I can’t imagine what a brand-new REM fan feels like (not thinks) when first listening to Murmur in 2007 vs. what I viscerally felt listening to what amounted to an entirely new musical paradigm in the days following its release. As a former college critic who helped bring acts to campus for concerts, I was in the right place at the right time (Winston-Salem, NC) to know that a new act from Georgia was recording some songs there. The rest is history. To illustrate a personal way of thinking about a new REM album just after release, I’ll use Fables. Chronic Town was different, promising and great and Murmur fulfilled the promise (I didn’t need Rolling Stone to confirm that Murmur was the best album of that year). Reckoning was great (and So. Central Rain was the first REM song that could directly evoke sensations from my brain (and I aint crazy and didn’t do drugs)), so expectations were high for Fables. At that time, REM was certainly an alternative act with a critical following but not many fans. I wanted that next album to be somewhat more “mainstream” so that they would achieve a wider audience, fame and fortune (and make me look good for recommending their albums to anyone who would listen). I remember going to the record store on release day and running home to play it. I can’t forget that within 30 seconds of the start of Feeling Gravity’s Pull, I was crying and couldn’t believe how great it was and knew that they would eventually achieve a broad fan base. To this day Fables is my favorite album. It may not be their “best” (maybe Murmur, Life’s Rich Pageant, OOT, or NAIHF is), but I have never heard a record before and since that exceeded sky-high expectations by so much. I know that REM totally changed my view of what modern popular music could be and truly believe that REM has surpassed any pop/rock/alternative band in terms of a meaningful musical experience and sheer entertainment. Way too much already, but I liked Reveal a lot (maybe because Up, except for Walk Unafraid, was disappointing to me). Aah, those high expectations again.

  49. maclure Says:

    The strange thing about this blog is that after reading a post and comments, I got back and listen to a song and generally think its better than I remembered. So it is with Reno. There are some different live versions on YouTube which are reasonably good too.

    BWD – perhaps being inebriated helps drinkers forget the parts of songs/albums they don’t like. Too much drink, and I bet an album of REM farting begins to sound alright. I do drink – not much – and I live in a hot, warm country. A few relaxing caipirinhas under a sunshade on the beach, and I begin to feel “medium-paced, with no rough edges, too yellow (or red), sweet, sunshiny and bleached” (to quote Milsey’s view of Reveal) all at once so perhaps there’s something in it…

  50. milesy Says:

    Maclure. How did you manage to find that ‘hot, warm country’?

  51. Kirsten Says:

    I love the rhu-rhu-rhu-rhu-rhu-rhumba part on Beachball.
    The whole laid-back feeling of the whole of Reveal is summed up in that line.

    I’m not a drinker either BWD, but I can still relax! Use Reveal as a substitute for alcohol to relax. AFTP & OOT as a substitute when you want to drink to drown your sorrows. Monster to get laid and NAIHF to party. REM are my alcohol/drugs!

  52. Mr Cup Says:

    hmmm…there’s drinking and there’s being inebriated. I’m thinking Johnny Depp, you’re thinking Pete Doherty.

    Beachball for me is a narcotic. Turns my bones to jelly and I grin like an idiot. I can understand anyone not liking it though. But no amount of drinking or abstinence can make the worst songs (you know – the ones I personally object to) sound any better.

    Beachball may well be the end of the Reno roadtrip. Drinking and pep talking all the way…you”ll do fine…hic..

  53. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Hey, I was just thinking, I think I might like Reno better if it were on Hi-Fi. It seems to fit with the themes of travel, movement, and the American West that permeate Hi-Fi, and musically, it would stand out more on Hi-Fi than it does on Reveal where nearly every song has the faintly queasy, honey-drenched, languid pacing.

  54. maclure Says:

    BWD – Reno would need a serious reworking to be on hi-fi in my opinion. It would need to be stripped bare, a bit like Be Mine. In fact, it would need to be lo-fi to be on hi-fi.

    Mr Cup – no offence intended re: being inebriated… I don’t think (at least I hope not) that any of us are in the Pete Doherty school of hard living.

    Milesy – Humming, all the way to Rio…

  55. Mr Cup Says:

    Maclure – no offence taken. I was trying to describe drinking as social lubricant vs. drinking as way of life, say. I was going to use James Bond instead of Depp…but I couldn’t come up with a fictional alcoholic.

  56. gluefoot Says:

    it’s great that ‘saturn return’ is deemed to be the standout on ‘reveal’ by so many here, ’cause i’ve always thought so too.. i do like the album as a whole i have to say.. i much prefer ‘up’ but ‘reveal’ has its own charm and i think the songs are very strong overall..
    ‘reno’ itself, yeh i liked it modestly at first but then i grew to really dig it.. i don’t know if the song is sad, hopeful, desperate, joyful, sarcastic, sympathetic.. that’s quite a songwriting feat when you think about it.. and musically it just drifts beautifully and the melodies are gorgeous..
    sometimes the production on ‘reveal’ turns me off tho’.. i think you have to be in the right mood to bask in its lushness and you know i never really got the beach boys.. but when the mood is there, it all works wonderfully..
    but just on ‘saturn return’ again, jesus i wish REM would leap headlong out of their comfort zone and write more songs like that..
    and finally, on ‘reno’, i have to say the video is AWFUL.. if they had just let the kids video and straight performance or whatever, instead of mucking around and trying to be funny in a high-school crass kinda way, it may have been a triumph, but this vid really is a visual low for a band that have been responsible for many of the greatest videos i’ve ever seen (eg. so. central rain, half a world away, country feedback, talk about the passion etc.)..

  57. Paul Alferink Says:

    Alcohol is my anti-drug!

  58. Dark Bob Says:

    In response to Gluefoot: Although I like the video to Reno, I agree that REM has made much better. Their older videos such as the ones from Fables and Reckoning were very artistic compared to the standard MTV vids of those days. I never was a big fan of Videos anyhow, but REM really used that medium in a unigue way.

  59. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Paul : LOL ! I’m not a fictional alcoholic but I am a non-fictional non-practicing alcohlolic.
    Kirsten : How does one sing Airportman ?
    MP : You may have to do a Saturn Return #2:)

  60. Mr Hiccup Says:

    I really wish they’d employ someone like Michel Gondrey for a video or two. Spike Jonez. Me.

    I set up a hidden camera near the swings. I thought a video of fans fighting over their fave songs would be rather amusing to watch.
    I’m thinking those little spy cameras at the bottom of each lemonade cup would be a real treat too.

    Just have to write a pitch. Anyone know a writer?

  61. Ignis Sol Says:

    i am a reformed cathaholic….or is that alcatholic?
    I’ve never been to Reno or Vegas for that matter. I’m never gonna be a star.
    Kirsten – you use Monster to get laid? We have something other than R.E.M. in common, then!

  62. Dark Bob Says:

    I’m a recovering Catholic.

  63. Kirsten Says:

    It’s that last note in You. Gets me every time……

  64. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    This is sort of morbid, but everytime MP goes away for a while I think, what if Matthew died? We’d all just be left hanging here. (Of course, it would be sad too – but would we ever know?

  65. Kirsten Says:

    I think they would mention it on REMHQ. But I’ve had similar thoughts about some of the regulars here when they don’t post for a while. I always worry that something is wrong.

  66. Ignis Sol Says:

    I was listening to “I’ll Take the Rain” yesterday and today is rainy and gloomy. I will give it back fro some whatever the fuck he is singing about in “Summer Turns to High.”

    Luckily, it is a US federal holiday (Honorable Veterans Day, dad!) and I am off sippin’ coffee (without pepper) with my known enemies.

    Kirsten, when Michael sings “you—–” he means ME not you! 🙂 I always thought this song was about his good friend River Phoenix. For River. River’s sister does sing back up on “King of Comedy.” It would be fitting on album with a song about his other friend Kurt Cobain (Let Me In).

  67. Kirsten Says:

    I wish it was a public holiday here! Although, last Tuesday was, it seems like ages ago….

    I heard (completely unconfirmed) that Michael was there with River when he died. I was always suspicious on this and don’t really believe it. Anyone know the truth??

  68. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Some national holiday, I still have to work! Our veterans (and myself) deserve better.

    Ignis, don’t you live in Seattle? Rain is the order of the day there unless something has changed.

  69. Ignis Sol Says:

    Just because it rains in the winter/autumn does not mean we don’t feel gloomy.

    And as I speak now it is clearing up from gray to blue skies and I can see the Olympics! Amazing. Weird. Beautiful. Autumn to turns to high?

  70. Ignis Sol Says:

    BWD, thank you for your sevice! All Veterans deserve the best today and always.

    I work at the hq for a a big bank, so I get it off. It just makes me one day behind at work.

  71. Ignis Sol Says:

    Kirsten, I don’t know if Michael was there, but his brother Joaquin was there – he made the 911 emergency call. They were outside Johnny Depp’s Viper Room in L.A.. Johnny, the rumor goes, was on stage jammin’ with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers.

  72. Kirsten Says:

    Joaquin – ha! He’ll always be little Leaf Pheonix to me.

  73. Mr Hiccup Says:

    I’ll take that rain….it was 39.8c here yesterday and it’s still a month until summer. Crikey!

  74. Mr Cup Says:

    (he he he…while everyone is pre-occupied at the swings I will steal away for a little nightswim…he he he)

  75. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Just to set the record straight, I am not a veteren (my dad is) I just wanted the day off.

  76. ScottMalobisky Says:

    the geometry of innocent flesh on the bone =collateral damage

  77. protimoi86 Says:

    I first heard this song on 2001’s Unplugged, but it was the album version that really made an impression. I don’t think it’s like anything they’ve done before or since.

    This is R.E.M. in Technicolor.

  78. Songbill Says:

    The live version of Reno as seen on Perfect Square is positively dreadful. Take away the glitzy production (sitar, percussion, etc.) and the song is a rather boring mid-tempo number with double-long verses.

  79. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Perfect Square is pretty lame in general from what I’ve seen, don’t understand why they felt the need to put that out, generic and nothing special at all…….I could imagine many a casual music fan seeing this video and thinking, “Damn, what’s the big deal about these guys ??” I remember The Great Beyond as also being quite dreadful, just flat-out embarrassingly limp.

  80. ScottMalobisky Says:

    …and then just now I was reading some customer reviews of Perfect Square on Amazon, including quite a few lauding it as very much worth buying and really great , go figure….

  81. Allentria Harvey Says:

    This is one of my favorite songs. I used to live by almost walking distance to Dania Beach. I lived in a beautiful home on a marina. I lived right across the street from a beautiful Catholic Santuary. The neighborhood was very beautiful. I rollarbladed a couple times a wek. As I was casually rollarblading as the son was going down, listening on my headphone was listening to my Best of R.E.M mix. Then all of a sudden the song All the Way to Reno came on and then I’d say that I felt like I slipped into a transcendent world of peace and happiness. The lyrics were simple but just said enough of what I needed to hear at that time. I felt i guess what you might call a state of Nirvana. I felt like I was engulfed in the same inspirational bubble that Michael Stipe and the rest of the band was in when they created the song.Perhaps it was just an extra shot of endorphins or something but from that moment i was hooked. I felt like I slept into a beautiful melodic romantic dream. I am a fan of it and was pleasently supprised to hear it for the first time on the best of ‘ album. So I am a big fan- Allentria Harvey

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