February 20, 2008
If “Losing My Religion” can be understood as a portrait of a person who has been driven into paranoia by an infatuation they believe to be rather hopeless, “Romance” is like the sensation of a perky, confident crush that leaves the brain a bit scrambled, albeit in a totally pleasant sort of way. All the feeling is in the sound of the music and the voices; the lyrics are cryptic to the point of seeming nonsensical. Nevertheless, there are some great images that don’t quite connect on a literal level — I particularly enjoy the line about putting heads down on desks, it takes me back to elementary school– but they all flow together like jump-cut, re-arranged scenes from some lost ’80s romantic comedy.
It’s rather fitting that this one was indeed recorded for a soundtrack back in the ’80s, but the film is so obscure that I doubt anyone but the most obsessive R.E.M. enthusiasts have viewed it in the past twenty-odd years. (I sure as hell haven’t seen it.) I’m not up on the movie’s plot, but I like to think that it’s about a pair of mis-matched adjunct professors who fall in love in some sleepy college town, and get caught up in some far-flung screwball adventure.