Rusty's waltz wednesday presents: Everybody Hurts, by REM
Wellsir, it's the week after valentine's day. I was having a movie night with myself last friday when I decided to watch The Dictator. It was pretty hilarious, especially the bit in the helicopter when they're yelling at each other in arabic (that's actually hebrew), I literally died from laughter, and am writing from beyond the grave.
The point is that "Everybody Hurts" - in Arabic - was on the soundtrack, and as soon as it started I jotted this song down on my notepad.
REM is one of those bands that I know I'll like when I get around to listening to them, but just haven't yet. They're credited with pioneering alt-rock, and its members were singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. They've sold upwards of 85 million records worldwide, which is just staggering.
I hope to find another waltz by them when I start listening to their albums.
I'm going to talk about REM's own version of this song, even though I really like the arabic version.
Like last week's selection, this is another song that I had - perhaps again like you, dear reader? - only ever heard on TV, movies(, starbucks?). The song was first released in 1993, and made it pretty high on the charts, though not to number one.
I'm pretty sure the timing is in 6/8 here: each beat is tapped on the snare drum, and the fourth (of six!) beat always has a louder high-pitched "tock" sound.
The melody is really nice, Stipe's voice is set in a pretty high register, and he sings gently as the verse alternates between two chords (D and G). My favorite part of this song is when the piano steps down to the E-minor of the chorus and Stipes sings "don't let yourself go" for the first time. He kicks up the power behind his voice, and adds a waver to it that's more subtle than an overwrought vibrato.
As the song progresses, I confirmed that it was the first time I'd listened to this song, because I had no idea there was a bridge (2:23). Here, I find that his singing borrows from soul music, as he modulates his voice - like when he sings "don't throw your haa-ayyaa-aaaa-aand" (where he modulates on "hand").
The song ends with increased layering, and a pretty nice string arrangement - which Wikipedia tells me was written by Led Zepplin's John Paul Jones. All in all, it's a nice way to finish a pretty darn good song.
Don't forget to check out the Arabic version, and share this blog with your friends. If you're going to email it to anyone, I'd ask of you to please only type in allcaps with no punctuation, e.g. "CHECK OUT THIS BLOG ITS ABOUT WALTZES AN OFT NEGLECTED MUSICAL FORM TODAY LOVE GRANDAD"