March 23, 2008

“Bandwagon” is a good old fashioned b-side. It doesn’t require any context to be enjoyable, and it thrives without having to live up to any sort of expectation. It’s doesn’t have the oomph of a proper a-side, and wouldn’t have made much sense if it had been included on Fables of the Reconstruction, but it’s a happy little gem that serves as a fine complement to the levity of “Can’t Get There From Here.”  The song is carried by Peter Buck’s breezy, cheery chord progressions, which is contrasted with a rather cynical and sarcastic lyric by Michael Stipe that gently mocks herd mentality, and comes about as close as he has ever come to telling other musicians not to bite his band’s style.

30 Responses to “Bandwagon”

  1. ADB Says:

    Have been checking this website every day since the start, so figure it’s my turn to have the first comment. Maybe could’ve had a more significant moment in the REM canon to comment on, but what the hell, I love Bandwagon. Yessiree Bob…

  2. Guest Says:

    Where is this b-side available? Was it ever released on a compilation? Haven’t heard it…and would like to…

  3. Flor Says:

    It’s indeed a fun silly song, but the “look at all the flags and all the banners waving”-section is genuinely beautiful.

  4. protimoi86 Says:

    I should pay more attention to the lyrics next time. This is one of those songs I listen to for the sheer feel of the music. It’s a warm, inviting song I don’t put on very often, but when I do it makes me smile.

    “There’s lots of room for you on the bandwagon…”

    This is probably the R.E.M. song that makes me like the “you” the most.

  5. Dark Bob Says:

    This is one fun song. Yesiree Bob!

  6. profligateprofiterole Says:

    “herd mentality”–LOL

  7. Mr Cup Says:

    This is one song I always wanted to learn to play when you go off camping or whatever that everyone would get into without knowing what it was or by whom. Unfortunately, after 3 chord changes I’m a goner.

    I promise you, you won’t hurt the horse!

  8. profligateprofiterole Says:

    just saw on TV ,the song Superman though not REM’s version, used ln a Toyota Sequoia commecial..YIKES !

  9. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Okay, I must admit that Bandwagon does almost nothing for me. The lyrics are simple and very straiforward (very un- R.E.M.) and the poppy, silly chord progressions just don’t move me at all. As has been referenced, the only real redeeming quality of this song is the “Yesseree Bob!” shout.

  10. Bandwagon03 Says:

    Ahh, finally get to my “web identitiy” song… Well, obvioiusly, I like it, just on a pure campy, fun way!

  11. Paul Alferink Says:

    Silly B-Side. A great inclusion on “Dead Letter Office.” And no, it shouldn’t be on any REM album. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it better then most of the singles other bands put out. Yessiree Bob!

  12. Ignis Sol Says:

    I am hopping on board to share in the praise of this jaunty song.

  13. Kirsten Says:

    I use to hate this song for being too cheery until I heard it was a dig at U2. Now I love the bitchy attitude in which it is sung. Fuck you U2 for selling out(although I can’t help but feel that there may have been some jealousy mixed in with it). Brilliant.

    A Magic Kingdom greet us all Hello.

  14. Kirsten Says:

    It’s alright Ignis, come on aboard! I promise you you won’t hurt the horse, we treat him well, we feed him well.

  15. profligateprofiterole Says:

    Kirsten ,
    You’re fucking cantankerous this morning !!!! ……a horse is a horse of course of course unless of course the horse the horse is the wonderful Mr.Ed. Good Day

  16. Can’t say that I can see the U2-bashing in this; I don’t think R.E.M. and U2 have ever particularly had a rivalry in the kind of hostile, bitchy way that, for example, Oasis and Blur had. It seems to be more about fairweather fans – ironically, the type they’d accrue for AFTP seven years later and then lose with Monster. Prescient, perhaps?

    That said, I’ve only glanced the lyrics; my all-or-nothing attitude to music/life means I tend to ignore b-sides and remixes.

    Whilst we’re on the subject of U2, here’s hoping that this October will bring about something extra, because HTDAAB, whilst not terrible, was slightly, well, ATS.

  17. Ignis Sol Says:

    Not such a Beautiful Day, eh Kirsten.

  18. Wow…putting in my website on the form allows my name to become a shamelessly self-promotional link to said website? Brilliant – why didn’t I try that before?

  19. Kirsten Says:

    Gee profligateprofiterole, it’s a bit early in the morning for those sorts of words – back to the good old dictionary….
    Oh, OK. Reminds me of spending half my youth looking up MS’s words in the dictionary trying to work out what he’s on about! 🙂

    Unless of course the horse is the famous MR.CUP!

    As for the U2 thing, I’m sure there was a lot of rivalry in the early-mid 80’s. All friends now, though. I’ll have to try and find out where I read it.

  20. Mr Cup Says:

    who’s a horse?

  21. profligateprofiterole Says:

    great photo in the Bowler & Dray Chronic Town To Monster bio, Stipe Mills Clayton and Mullen at Clinton’s Inauguration Party 1993, Stipe and Clayton looking the most obviously wasted of the four, I guess Clayton always had a reputation for being somewhat of a wild one.

  22. profligateprofiterole Says:

    then there’s a fantasy photo of Hillary ducking sniper fire

  23. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Okay, this has nothing to do with Bandwagon, but I am a very big fan of the Canadian band The Tragically Hip, and I just listened to “Living Well Is The Best Revenge” on REM HQ for the 1st time (couldn’t wait anymore) and the guitar riff sounds nearly exactly the same as the Hip’s in their song “All Tore Up” from their In Violet Light album. It’s sort of creepy. I am sure its unintentional, still, they are very similar.

  24. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Also, old hat for you all i’m sure but I just about peed myself watching the “Michael Stipe press conference” posted in REM HQ where he officially announces that his bandmates are strait. Who knew!?

  25. Beethoven Was Deaf Says:

    Actually, I think a little pee came.

  26. profligateprofiterole Says:

    there’s a limited amount of guitar riffs available and they are pretty much used up

  27. profligateprofiterole Says:

    I guess we can still speculate on Mr. Berry ? He’s a drummer , he has to be straight…..?

  28. Bill Berry? Probably straight most of the time. Could be an occasional swinger though.

  29. profligateprofiterole Says:

    Happy First Birthday popsongs ’07
    LET ME IN AHHHH YEAH YEAH YEAH (to the party)

  30. profligateprofiterole Says:

    I’ll bring the horse.

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