I have this app on my phone that sends push notifications so I can be alerted when any of my fans are coming to town. It’s called “Bandsintown”. I gave it permission to scan through my the music library on my phone and then it sort of does the rest as far as alerting me when new shows are announced or there are other things of interest going on. Today I had a notification from R.E.M. What?
R.E.M hasn’t been active for many years now, but that band was on the top of my list back in the day and was one of those favorites I had in common with both Brian and my biggest HS crush, Scott. Whenever one of their songs comes up in the master shuffle, it kind of reminds me of those “dating days”. Of course when I saw the notification, I was like “whoa, what could this be about?”.
As it turns out, it is the 25th anniversary of them releasing the album “Automatic for the People”. This is one of my all-time favorite albums and I’ve probably played every song on it a hundred times. The song “Nightswiming” is in my top 25. I’ve probably played IT several hundred times.
That song in particular does not elicit thoughts of other people or memories about high school and college, but it’s very methodical and therapeutic and the lyrics speak to me in a very profound way. It is an emotionally liberating song for me. If I had to pick a song that captures the essence of me, that one may just be it.
Since I had that notification early today, I’ve been listening to that album all day. I’ve just now switched my shuffle to include the other five albums I have in my library. This includes:
Dead Letter Office
Automatic for the People (of course).
I still have the physical CDs of all of these. That’s how we acquired our music 25 years ago. I own them. I don’t have to rely on some streaming music service or paying some subscription fee to listen. I might never get on that train.
Yup, 25 years ago, R.E.M. was releasing a new album/CD and I was in my sophomore year in college dating a guy who had just started his military career in the Air Force. That seems like a lifetime ago. Oh how time flies.
Thanks “Bandsintown”, for the temporary time machine and for keeping tabs on all my fans so I don’t have to.
PS. I’ve never wondered until today what R.E.M. stood for. I mean I know REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, but it never occurred to me the acronym for the band could be something else. I googled it and it isn’t something else. Apparently it was chosen at random from the dictionary by band member Michael Stipe (according to the almighty wiki). Of the other names they considered, this one is far superior in my opinion. I may not have had the same affinity for a band called “Cans of Piss”. Just sayin’.