December 13, 2007

1. If you’ve never been very ill or known someone who has struggled with a serious illness or injury, it can seem a bit facile when you hear people say that someone going through something like that is very brave. It sounds like a cheap platitude — and sometimes it is — and from a distance, their “struggle” looks a lot like passivity. The thing is, the bravery isn’t in taking medication, or going through physical therapy or whatever treatment is being prescribed, but rather in being forced to reckon with your mortality, and seriously consider your faith in science and religion. It’s in coping, and finding the strength to fight, or the courage to give up. That’s what “Hope” is about.

Michael Stipe sings most of the song in the second person, but nearly every line describes what he understands to be going on inside his friend’s mind, which is not necessarily the same thing as that person’s interior monologue. The only time when he speaks for himself is when he admits to feeling powerless and confused — every other moment finds Stipe marveling at the bravery of his friend. I don’t think there’s another character in the entire R.E.M. songbook that Michael sounds more in awe of than the person he’s singing about in “Hope.”

2. Sometimes I wonder how much better things would’ve been if “Hope” was less of an experiment for R.E.M., and was instead the template of their post-Bill Berry sound. Sure, other songs on Up nudge in a similar quasi-electronic direction — “Falls To Climb,” “Airportman,” and “Parakeet” come to mind — but “Hope” is the most elaborate and sophisticated by far. The arrangement is a carefully composed array of rhythms, melodies, and textures that swirl around Michael’s steady vocal performance, an interpolation of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne.” The constant movement is necessary in keeping the track from feeling too repetitive and samey, but also in achieving the song’s sense of calm in the midst of uncertainty. “Hope” has a certain boldness to its sound, but its beauty comes in the subtle touches — a stray piano line, a buried acoustic guitar strum, a turn of phrase, the stunned empathy in Michael’s voice. It’s one of the most impressive compositions of the band’s career, and perhaps the single best argument in favor of the group carrying on as a trio following the departure of Berry.

3. I’m not going to front: I still get a little bit excited when I hear Michael sing my name in this song. (“They did the same to Matthew / and he bled ’til Sunday night.”) I can’t remember too many specifics, but I think it may have actually been a key influence in terms of my decision to phase out calling myself “Matt” in favor of my full given name. (Well, that and the fact that “Matt” doesn’t exactly suit me.)

65 Responses to “Hope”

  1. maclure Says:

    Great stuff, Matthew! Some strong write ups from you recently, and this is no exception. “but rather in being forced to reckon with your mortality, and seriously consider your faith in science and religion” – with this line I think you nailed good and proper what this song is about. Both science and religion are forms of faith and both are difficult to deal with in the context of pain and suffering…

    Couldn’t agree more with your comments on the instrumentation side of things. Some lovely touches buried in the mix. I love the descension (<spelling?) into white noise at the end of the track. Quite Radiohead-y, I think…

    The lines that I always remember from this song are these:

    You want to trust religion
    And you know it’s allegory
    But the people who are followers
    Have written their own story.

    I think these lyrics kind of haunt me. I only partially agree with the point being made – I think the relationship between the followers of a faith and their connection to the allegory or truth they claim to follow is highly complex – but it’s the fact that I meet so many OTHER people who say this (but not so eloquently) about religion, and Christianity in particular, as if they are searching for the real deal but can’t get past the history, the texts, the interpretation, the church. I think REM tend to avoid religious imagery and themes (Losing My Religion does not count) but, on balance, I think UP (with the possible exception of parts of AFTP) is the closest they come to tackling directly matters of science and religion, faith and belief…

    I may be missing something here, but why is Leonard Cohen cited as a song-writer. Does this song directly cite his lyrics? I feel I should know this already, but anyone?

  2. maclure Says:

    Akk, sorry that was quite long for post 1. And, I’ve just seen some grammatical abominations in there.

  3. Have you ever heard Cohen’s “Suzanne”? There’s a link to a youtube clip in the post. Michael interpolates the melody and borrows the “and you want…” structure in the lyrics.

  4. Rob Says:

    What a great write up, and kudos for pointing out the subtle touches that make this song so great, especially Mike Mills’ one note harmony. Leonard Cohen gets a writing credit because the vocal melody and some of the lyrics borrow from his song Suzzanne. I believe this was unintentional on Michael’s part, but the band contacted his people to avoid any legalities being brought up.

  5. Dark Bob Says:

    I think it had to be intentional. It follows too closely to Cohen’s Suzanne. It works really well. I hadn’t listened to this song in years and had forgotten how good it is.

  6. adam Says:

    michael of course has talked at length re borrowing from cohen for this song. UP was amazing at the time.. and in my opinion – has only grown more unique.. I seem to NEVER tire of UP. and HOPE remains such a refreshing song – and yeah, it would have been cool if they followed in this direction and worked on perfecting it musically…

  7. Mr Cup Says:

    Matthew…you are ablaze!

    They credit Lenny for a kind of similar lyrical delivery, yet just about every frickin’ rock band in the world right now outright plaigarise their influences and (some, the better cover bands) get lauded for it. Sheesh!

    I always liked the line about crossing ‘your DNA with something reptile’ as if it was this seasons colour.

    I wished they had gone more in this direction and bean more … hmm…abrasive. I tend too really love the more caustic REM sounds.

  8. clare Says:

    2 of my favourites in as many days.

    Matthew, if I was ever lucky enough to have my name mentioned in an REM song I would die a happy lady!!

    Your write up on this one is really great. I TOTALLY agree with the conncection you make between the singer & the feelings of desperation at attempts to help the suffering of a friend/loved one. I have experience of this sensibilty 1st hand (only I have been the loved one in need of the help) & the poignancy of the delivery of the lyics against the backdrop of those sparse chord changes beautifully depicts the urgency of the situation. I don’t know why but this song always makes me think of the film Girl Interrupted, & for reasons my conciousness can’t quite put my finger on …electric shock therapy.
    Hmmmm ok maybe that’s just me then!

  9. Jared W Says:

    It’s not even so much influenced by Leonard Cohen as it is a lyrical ripoff, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It was obviously intentional from any listen to the two songs, and even Michael has admitted as much.

    Also, I believe this is written in the 2nd Person?

    This song is one that I initially hated upon hearing (one of the few REM songs I’d consistently skip), but has grown on me quite a bit, and is also essential in the weird (and great and ever-evolving) makeup of Up.

  10. Jared W Says:

    Also want to add that what “Airportman” does for “Lotus” in regards to setting the song up, “Hope” does even better for “At My Most Beautiful”. The contradiction between the chaotic and grating end to “Hope” is absolutely the PERFECT setup for the simple and gentle beginning to “AMMB”.

    I really, REALLY like the sequencing of this album.

  11. Rob Says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Despite the fact that the band seem pretty down on this album I have always loved Up, it would definetely make my top 5 REM albums, along with Hi-Fi, Murmur, Automatic and Document.

  12. ScottMalobisky Says:

    nifty-flakey-brilliant pop-synopsis of Ernest Becker’s ‘The Denial of Death’ …….where belief systems are created to satisfy the cravings of the human psyche….(?), this is such a COOL COOL SONG

    speaking of cravings and song credits, during the final playback of The Stones ‘Bridges To Babylon’ (which is essentially crap except for the first two songs), someone in the studio mentioned the incredible similiarity between ‘Has Anybody Seen My Baby ?’ and kd lang’s ‘Constant Craving’–unintentional apparently –the band subsequently gave her a song credit.

    if there was a list of REM songs most unlikely to be performed EFFECTIVELY live I suppose this would be near the top, the epitome of the sorts of quirky touches and subtle things going on with UP. luv it luv it luv it

    The Gospel Accordng To Matt
    no that doesn’t work either

  13. ADB Says:

    My single favourite post-New Adventures track, one of Stipe’s best ever lyrics and, as you say, probably their most successful foray into electronica. Glad to hear I’m not alone… the lyrics are so fantastic, I can’t really choose a favourite although I’ve always loved ‘so you look up to the heavens
    and you hope that it’s a spaceship
    and it’s something from your childhood
    you’re thinking don’t be frightened’ which I think I’m right in saying was inspired by Radiohead’s Subterranean Homesick Alien.

    I read a quote from Michael somewhere saying how he doesn’t like his vocal on this track, maybe that’s why it never seems to get played live. Or maybe it’s too hard to recreate? I’d love to hear it live – have got the gentle (Stipe solo?) bootleg version, but a full band version would be v. cool.

  14. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    This was easily my favorite track off of Up when the album was released and was laong the lines of what I thought the entire CD was going to sound like based on initial press publicity. I was a little surprised when Up sounded more like sonically tweaked REM and less like Hope. That said, I love Up and many of the songs have risen in stature for me. Indeed, Hope is no longer my favorite song, but initially it hit me hard. It was very Radiohead (while still being REM). Lyrically, this song is very interesting in its discussion of science vs religion and of science and religion. Maclure, I have to agree with you completely with your thoughts about the words. Good job.

  15. Kris Says:

    I saw REM perform this live in Toronto when they were on the UP tour — or more accurately, I saw Michael perform it. This may be where the bootleg came from that ADB mentioned above, but i don’t know if he did this anywhere else. The encore started out with Michael coming on stage with an acoustic guitar. He tried to play another song (it was a cover; I still don’t know which one) but he forgot the chords so he gave up pretty quick. Then he launched into Hope. His guitar strumming was very simple (I think he had mentioned that he was just learning how to play guitar) but just the combination of his voice and the wavering instrument was fantastic. When he hit the line “you’re looking like an idiot and you no longer care”, he paused midway through and gave everyone a little smile. Great bit of showmanship. One of my favourite songs ever.

  16. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Also, I had a friend who was a big Radiohead fan who would never give REM a fair shake so I told him I had this EP by this underground group and threw Airportman, Hope, I’ve Been High, Saturn Return, and Falls To Climb on a CD. He thought it was awesome! It was so funny! He was kinda pissed when I told him it was really REM though. I did open his eyes to the versatility and skill of REM though.

  17. Yeah, they actually played “Hope” fairly often, but it was always incomplete, and just Michael singing and playing a crude acoustic guitar figure. It came off well, I saw them do it on Long Island in 1999.

    I feel like it’s a real mistake to call this song “electronica” — it is relative to other R.E.M. songs, but it’s really just an elaborate studio arrangement, and a lot of it is actually made out of acoustic instruments.

  18. Dark Bob Says:

    Wow, just dawned on me that my name IS mentioned in an REM song: “This is some parade yesiree Bob”, from Bandwagon. Anyone who could put the phrase “Yesiree Bob” in a song is OK in my book!

  19. karen Says:

    okay, this is interesting enough to make me actually consider listening to up. (i’ve always been too afraid i would hate it and that would depress me horribly.)

  20. protimoi Says:

    you’ve never heard it, karen? well set aside an hour, strap on the headphones and prepare to have your mind blown.

    Anything I say about this song I feel will be insufficient in expressing my feelings about it, but i’ll say it’s in my top 5 R.E.M. songs ever. The climactic ending (which sounds like a boiler room) is just magnificent, and i too wish they would do a full-out band version in concert.

  21. Ignis Sol Says:

    Great insight, Matthew!

    The images conjured from “Hope” are marvelous. The added musical touches mentioned by MP are some of my favorite in the R.E.M. catalog. Like others here have mentioned I just love, love, love that “buried acoustic guitar strum” and the other instrumental touches that build and break – an electronic dreamscape with heavy notions and provoking ideas about science and religion and dreams…

    BTW, it was announced today that Leonard Cohen is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (along with Madonna who has worked with Pat McCarthy who, of course, produced Up).

  22. 2d Says:

    this is an excellent song. it’s like a collage of sounds working together, clinging, clashing, meshing, overlapping, just like a giant mechanism in motion. my favourite bit is the ascending piano part after one of the “and you’re questioning religion” lyrics. great mechanical energy in this one, and the way the wall of fuzzy electronics at the end just reaches climax and then bursts into silence is one of the greatest song endings in an r.e.m. song (like rob dougan’s “furious angels” and travis’ “the humpty dumpty love song”).

  23. Brian Says:

    Congrats to Leonard Cohen on getting into the Rock HOF today too!

    “Hope” is a wonderful song from one of my personal favorite R.E.M. albums.

  24. milesy Says:

    Top review Matthew, and little I can add to the comments except to say I agree what a terrific song this is, but didn’t realised how widely appreciated it was. It was my initial Up favourite, too. I’ve always found it one of REM’s most emotional songs, and it powerfully conveys the sheer desperation of serious illness and life beyond your control.

    You want to trust the doctors their procedure is the best, but the last try was a failure and the intern was a mess…

  25. jim jos Says:

    I am obviously a huge, huge, R.E.M. fan and as a fan of melody and lyrics the most, I am obviously a huge fan of many of the band’s lyrics.

    I doubt if there is as strong a candidate for me as having such a personal connection to another R.E.M. song as this one. Just about every lyric hits me very personally and I can relate 100% to just about the entire song.

    “You want to go out Friday, and you want to go forever”
    That feeling that all the bad stuff is behind you and that there is an escape that can be found in going out , how sometimes at your worst you want to join some party and you never want that party to end. If only all the time you could feel free or diverted.

    “you really can’t believe it and you hope its getting better”
    “They’re saying don’t be frightened, but you’re weakened by the sight of it”
    “it’s something from your childhood, you’re thinking don’t be frightened”
    “you’re looking like an idiot and you no longer care”
    “you dreamed of alligators…they’re killing alligators”

    Just to be in a huge depression/confusion and the often messed up dreams that come along with that. You look for meaning or answers in your dreams but they are not there or you do not understand them, or if there are “childish” things that you dream about, hold on to, how painful it can be to see them hunted and/or destroyed.

    Too personal of a song for me at times, I have to be willing to “go back there” somewhat in order to listen to it.

    Thanks for doing the song justice with your review Matthew.

  26. Ping Woo Candy Says:

    mmm…good song

    mmmm…mighty nice candy

  27. Benjamin Says:

    Since I bought Up as a young teenager two years after it was released, I have adored this song, and hearing a perspective on it helps me to figure out why. Something about it just touches me. It is just about that, hope. Nicely worded analysis.

  28. ScottMalobisky Says:

    just listened to the LC , remarkable , I wonder how long it would’ve taken me to figure out exactly what Suzanne sounds JUST LIKE if I didn’t now know…….. So was the band aware of the similiarities or was it something they found out later ?

  29. ScottMalobisky Says:

    clever , BWD, clever
    good one , Man

  30. Peter Jane Says:

    I have always loved this lyric:

    And you want to cross your DNA
    To cross your DNA with something reptile.

  31. Paul Alferink Says:

    Best Lyrics
    “and they did the same to Matthew
    and he bled ’til sunday night”

    I always thought the subject was a bit of a Christ figure, particularly the “You want to go out friday, and you want to go forever line.” Not really sure that’s the case anymore. Really, there was a time I was obsessed with such things and this song came out at such a time.

    I love this song, and while I don’t care for most of UP very much, this song is really fantastic.

    This song was also featured on Dawson’s Creek, which my ex-girlfriend loved and made me watch with her. I could believe it when it came on. Surreal. I don’t even remember anything about the episode, but I thought Dawson’s Creek was just a little bit cool that day. . .

  32. Paul Alferink Says:

    As a side note, when the album came out, I never put two and two together about this song and Suzanne. Heck, I didn’t know what the song was called until I saw that Hope was based a little on Suzanne, so I went looking it up one day on Kazaa. And I knew the song, and like it. I was on one of the Mixed tapes my parents always played when we went on vacation when I was really little (under 8). Every time I hear one of those songs, it takes me right back to sitting in the back seat with my sister and traveling somewhere.

    Other songs like that:
    Strange Magic- ELO
    Chance- ABBA
    Some song by Art Garfunkel without Paul Simon
    Allentown, Pressure and She’s Right on Time by Billy Joel
    You’re no Good- Linda Ronstadt
    You’re so Vain -Carly Simon
    #1- Blondie

  33. Paul Alferink Says:

    It is also interesting to note that this is the closest to a cover song that has been on an REM album since “Strange” on Document. REM has said that putting covers on an album is a mistake from a royalty perspective and that they would never do it again.

  34. Ignis Sol Says:

    PaulA, does “The Sidwinder Sleeps Tonite” count?

    The writers are credited on the album.

    One must admire Michael’s honesty in his inspirations. He gives credit when he thinks credit might be due. I am beginning to think he is a pretty nice guy. πŸ™‚

  35. 2d Says:

    awwww, you’re just saying that because it’s true πŸ˜›

  36. Ignis Sol Says:

    The only things we know a4e the things we a4e being taught.

    (how’s that for a U2-esque new R.E.M. album title)

  37. Daveo Says:

    Nice review, and one that had me scrambling back to listen to the song for the first time in a long. It was worth the trip.

    Also, I love the light-hearted stamp of approval you made in point number three. I get a little thrill when Paul McCartney sings, “Vera, Chuck, and DAVE”!

  38. 2d Says:

    no kidding. u2 really love those loooong song titles, don’t they? πŸ˜€

  39. Kirsten Says:

    I had taped this song off the radio before Up came out and one of my stongest memories is lying on a hospital bed waiting to go in for an operation (my first one ever) being absolutely terrified and just thinking “they did the same to Matthew and he bled til Sunday night” over and over. So at the time Up came out I really did highly associate this song with being ill. However, 10 years later, as the memories of that expierence have faded a bit, I don’t really asociate this song with a serious illness. To me it is more about life in general. I think this song is full with a lot of paranoia, stress and panic attacks (just like me!). I really have to agree with Jim Jos (and I quote): “I doubt if there is as strong a candidate for me as having such a personal connection to another R.E.M. song as this one. Just about every lyric hits me very personally and I can relate 100% to just about the entire song”. The words in this song are some of their best ever, but my words will never do it justice. Brilliant, brilliant song.

  40. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Wow! I have been really sick for 3-4 days and I was afraid I’d be way behind in my reading and posting, but alas, MP has been doing other stuff.

  41. Timb Says:

    Matthew did you ever catch up with the girl that you met back in September?

  42. ScottMalobisky Says:

    more evidence of Stipe’s reptilian alien ancestry ?

  43. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    I have HOPE that one day there may be a new song to chat about! πŸ™‚

  44. Kirsten Says:

    Why? What’s wrong with Hope? It is so brilliantly written it deserves so many more indepth comments. Sadly, I am a mere mortal and cannot express the enormity of the brilliance of this song in words. Only Michael Stipe could manage that!

    You want to climb the ladder, you want to see forever
    You want to go out Friday and you want to go forever.

  45. Paul Alferink Says:

    I love the reptile/alligator theme. What significances it has, I have no idea.

    Listen, if nothing more happens on this website, I might have to jump into my rant on why “Babel” should have been call “Naked Underage Japanese Nyphomaniacs.” And nobody wants that.

  46. ScottMalobisky Says:

    do it , Paul , do it

  47. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    I want that! (I think).

  48. Mr Cup Says:

    I’m in!

  49. Rob Says:

    There may be copyright issues with another movie called Naked Japenese Nymphomaniacs. Not that I know for sure, just a hunch, haha. Did anyone else see the posting on Murmurs.com about the new REM album being released April 1st? If the recorded songs sound as good as they did in Dublin this summer we’re in for a real return to form.

  50. Peter Jane Says:

    Written before Icke made the theory popular as well!!!

  51. Paul Alferink Says:

    You are all to blame for this. . .

    First off, let me say that Babel should have been called “Naked Underaged Japanese Nympho Schoolgirl.” Babel implies a miscommunication. People, for the most part, communicate okay. Yes, it takes place all over the world. But language difference play such a little part in the movie.

    So why call it “Naked Underaged Japanese Nympho Schoolgirl?” Because the movie only grossed 30 Million. Why did it only gross 30 million? Beacause the called it BABEL. If they had named the movie “Naked Underaged Japanese Nympho Schoolgirl,” it would have grossed at least 80 Mill. Plus, the movie is split into, really, 4 parts. One of those parts is about said Naked Underaged Japanese Nympho Schoolgirl. And that has a better ring then “Masterbating Moroccan rifle boy” or “Mexican Nanny takes Nazi poster children to a wedding”, and definitly better then “Brad Pitt tries to not be so pretty”

    And so I wasn’t a real big fan of this movie. The best part was the afore mentioned Naked Underaged Japanese Nympho Schoolgirl. But the Naked Underaged Japanese Nympho Schoolgirl cries a lot. And I’ve watch a fair amount of Japanese porn, so I understand this, for some strange Japanese reason, turns on Japanese men, and it is normal that the Naked Underaged Japanese Nympho Schoolgirl cries. However, there was not a single tentacle to be seen. If they are going to buck one trend of Japanese porn, why not buck another. Cause really, chicks crying is so not a turn on. Really. Unless it leads to make-up sex, but that clearly wasn’t the case here. Maybe if she had been mad at the audience before she got naked and cried, it might have worked. As it stands, not so much.

    Plus, a lot of people thought this movie might win best picture. That fact really pissed me off because it similar in a lot of ways to Crash. I saw “Crash” two years ago, thought “Hmm, that was a nice little movie, and promptly forgot about it. Meanwhile, Brokeback Mountain comes out (No pun intented) and it is a superior movie in every way. Fantastic Film. Even if you are some kinda freak and manly, gay cowboys aren’t your thing, it’s still a great movie. It’s pretty. It tells the story well. Hell, replace the Gay Cowboys with breeders and it’s still interesting. Plus, there are boobies, and those boobies belong to a former Dawson’s Creek cast member and a former Disney mainstay, which just made me feel all kinds of naughty/excited.

    And then Oscar comes along and says, “A movie about oppressed Gay people!?!?! We can’t let that win and take a stand! But have you heard about this racism thing? We really should take a stand against that and let people know it’s WRONG. And pat ourselves on the back afterwards.” And Crash gets an Oscar.

    So is Babel good? Yeah, but I doubt it makes my top ten list of movies that year, and I only probably got to see 18 movies that year.

    And, if “Gone, Baby, Gone” is shut out from major catergories this year, you are all invited to my house to watch me set myself on fire on the front lawn.

    Thank you.

  52. Jared W Says:

    Looks like an April 1 drop date for the new album:


  53. Ignis Sol Says:

    An April Fools album from R.E.M. Just a few days before my b-day! Thank you Michael, I knew our time together meant something! πŸ™‚

    That date reminds me of the Rufus Wainwright song.

  54. DJ Says:

    Wow Matthew we were both at the Jones beach show in 1999! That is my favorite concert experience ever! Fourth row dead center. Well, except for the guy from Spacehog hocking loogies all over the place.

  55. ScottMalobisky Says:

    April is the cruellest month breeding lilacs out of the dead land mixing dull roots with spring rain ,or something like that.

  56. Paul Alferink Says:

    Wait until “Imitation of Life” to break out “The Wasteland”, thank you very much . . .

  57. ScottMalobisky Says:

    hmmn , you got me thinking there, what connection could you possibly see between Imaitation Of Life and The Wasteland..could be something relatively obvious considering that I only know those first few lines , and I’m not even sure if I got those right; my favorite TSE is The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock , the way the night spreads out like a patient anesthesized upon a table

  58. ScottMalobisky Says:

    dug your Babel rant , BTW, insightful , I’ve never seen the movie. now I’m curious about the naked underage Japanese schoolgirl

  59. ScottMalobisky Says:

    Christmas = Hope and Hope = Christmas , therefore there will be no new song posting until after Christmas. That is my prediction and my logic is UTTERLY IRREFUTABLE, thank you very much…..I wanted to be wrong……

  60. ScottMalobisky Says:

    ok Paul , you could and should save it , but …..was just glancing at The Wasteland …well , there is a hyacinth reference….

  61. ScottMalobisky Says:

    I have known them all already , known them all
    The mornings , evenings , afternoons
    I have measured out my life in coffee spoons

    yeah , Prufrock nails it and I feel what it’s nailing more and more as THE MOMENT grows closer, the impossible yearning as forever folds in over and upon itself, an incredibly moving poem

    The Waste Land never did much for me . Am I missing a lot of esoteric references perhaps ?

  62. ScottMalobisky Says:

    check out Wikipedia –The Doors ‘Hyacinth House’ , interesting ……

  63. Elica Says:

    I almost died, not joking at all, and I feel this song under my skin for the same reasons you wrote. It’s a pleasure to come here and read what you wrote about the songs, thanks a lot!

  64. ChampionOfTheWorld Says:

    Suzanne also sounds like Cream’s Tales Of Brave Ulysses

  65. ChampionOfTheWorld Says:

    what an unbelievable coincidence, just saw a clip where-in Cream say that TOBU was directly influenced by Suzanne!……I’m not crazy after-all

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