I’m Not Over You

November 15, 2007

What if R.E.M. decided to break up after the departure of Bill Berry, and they never made Up? What if Michael Stipe went off and started a solo career? You know, like a singer-songwriter thing where he just sings and strums an acoustic guitar? What would that be like? Well, “I’m Not Over You” is the answer, tucked away behind “Diminished” like a secret photo stashed between the pages of an old book. It’s short, slight, and simple, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Sure, Michael isn’t much of a guitar player, but his fragile, tentative playing makes him sound like he’s trying very hard not to mess it all up, and it nicely complements the theme of his lyrics. Stipe flips the relative weakness of this song into a major strength, and it fits perfectly as a brief lo-fi aside on the otherwise meticulously arranged Up. That said, it’s pretty clear that an entire album of this sort of thing would’ve been rather ill-advised.

23 Responses to “I’m Not Over You”


  1. […] You can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]

  2. Scott Says:

    It works as a short, direct confession late in an extended cycle of artful (good artful), abstruse (good abstruse) confessions.

  3. Kirsten Says:

    Short, sweet and to the point. A great ending to “Diminished”. Michael’s voice sounds so unsure and definately carries over the emotions of fear, guilt and innocence.

    Beautiful.

  4. protimoi86 Says:

    I heard they wanted to stretch this into a whole song, but they couldn’t get past the first verse and chorus (what we hear on the album). It’s a nice epilogue to “Diminished,” and pretty cool if only because R.E.M. don’t do the hidden track thing very often, but I can’t help but wonder what a finished, fully instrumental version of it would sound like.

  5. Paul Alferink Says:

    I love how REM does this with songs. They admitt there’s not enough for a song here, but know that there’s value in what they do have. So they toss it as a musical interlude of sorts. Like the little instrumental thing between “Bang and Blame” and “I Took your Name” (Which live, they take the guitar riff from and play once as an intro to ITYN)

    There is one more, but for the life of me I can’t remember where it is. And I guess there is the goofy extended intro to Rockville that is tacked on the end of Camera. But I liked this interlude enough to include them on my Best of REM mix tape.

    Best Lyrics:
    I sulked away to lick my thin skin.

  6. Dark Bob Says:

    Great lyrics!

  7. maclure Says:

    Paul – there is one of those musical interludes on Murmur, but I can’t remember off hand which track. Anyone?

  8. Jerad Says:

    I always wanted this song to be about Bill, but that just seems too obvious and direct. “I lost an arm, no one harmed.”

  9. Dark Bob Says:

    I think there’s an interlude on Murmur before We Walk, not completely sure, will have to get Murmur out and listen.

  10. ScottMalobisky Says:

    “I lost an arm , no one harmed” .I drum on—Def Leppard

    ….Crisply penned irrelevant action. The point of no return and now you know the score. The moon-stirred volume of ocean sighed problematically as he tried to discern the meaning of this secreted self inside the urgently uncomprehended one he was already somewhat familiar with …….

  11. narcizo Says:

    The Murmur interlude is between “shaking through” and “we walk”. There’s also a song snippet at the end of Reckoning, with murky vocals and a very post-punk / mournful feel.
    …Is it?

  12. adam Says:

    stipe doing this live on the up tour was something very diff and unique – his solo deal before encore – did he do that all thru tour?? this was a little experimentation when rem didnt know what to be.. totally fit the time and place…. perhaps the oddest thing REM has ever done, in some ways

  13. Ignis Sol Says:

    This one reminds me of Elliott Smith. It is the singer/songwriter/guitar/aching heart approach that reminds me of this. “I’m Not Over You,” indeed.

  14. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    I read that they did finish this song. It kept building layer upon layer and so in the end very much did fit in with Up, but canned the longer versiosn because it was sonically so similar to Why Not Smile? I’ve always liked this little throwaway too.

  15. ScottMalobisky Says:

    “like a photo stashed between the pages of an old book”
    …………or an obscure footnote on a page of poetry

  16. 2d Says:

    i’d like to hear the “finished” version, but somehow this song works so well in its album version that it’s difficult to imagine another take that manages to keep the heartbreakingly fragile sadness of its skeletal construction.

  17. Kirsten Says:

    Maybe they’ll release it on their next “Dead Letter Office” – that would be great, though I suspect that we would all agree the shorter version to be the better – they canned it for a reason.

  18. 2d Says:

    i fear that the bonus disc of “in time” was the “next dead letter office” and it wasn’t even that consistent…😦 i wish they would take all of us off guard with a disc chock-full of unreleased gems that nobody has ever heard, really raid the deepest corners of the vault! one can only dream!!!

  19. 2d Says:

    i fear that the bonus disc of “in time” was the “next dead letter office” and it wasn’t even that consistent…😦 i wish they would take all of us off guard with a disc chock-full of unreleased gems that nobody has ever heard, really raid the deepest corners of the vault! one can only dream!!!

  20. 2d Says:

    sorry about my double post… looks like i’m not 2d for nothing😉

  21. gluefoot Says:

    i keep banging on here about r.e.m. stepping out of their comfort zone and presenting material that is lo-fi, vulnerable and exciting and this gem is a great example.. the melody is gorgeous, the words are strong and stipe’s guitar reminds me of early vic chesnutt or daniel johnston..

  22. Kirsten Says:

    Vulnerable is an excellent way of describing Michael’s voice on this one.

    Rich and loaded with beautiful vulnerability……

  23. Alexander Says:

    This short little snippet has always made me sad in the midst of the UP lineup. To me this album was light years ahead of its time, and remains so today; R.E.M. is about innovation, and they tapped into the 26th century here, but it was a painful, confusing, and ugly process. You can hear brave new frontiers and then, as with “I’m Not Over You,” you can hear what once was. I can fill in the empty spaces, imagining what a fully wrought track would be like in, say, an Out Of Time sort of vibe – fully built, proudly beating its musical chest. But in the UP reality, it’s simply Michael on his own struggling to tread new ground, wounded but courageous. Just like the album itself.


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