Night Garden: Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe [R.E.M.]1981-1996 Song-by-song*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, May 23, 2021.

  1. CaptainFeedback1

    CaptainFeedback1 It's nothing personal.

    Oxfordshire, UK
    So, are you saying the same can't be said for 'It's The End Of The World'...?

    My simple brain can't handle this comment.
  2. kouzie

    kouzie Forum Resident

    Batavia, IL
    Saying that ITEOTW really doesn't have much melody - certainly the verses and the chorus barely deviates from one note. Melodically its pretty boring. But when it does, at least it provides the listener something to grab onto.
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  3. CaptainFeedback1

    CaptainFeedback1 It's nothing personal.

    Oxfordshire, UK
    I guess the vocal line is rhythmic more than melodic now I think about it. I take your point!
    kouzie likes this.
  4. blaken123

    blaken123 Your Greater Tri-County CD Superstore

    United States
    Monty Got a Raw Deal

    The beginning of a nearly flawless Side 2.



    I often forget how good this song is because of the lame title and the even lamer chorus, which simply consists of the lame title repeated in a not very catchy way. But the rest of the song is brilliant, especially the bridge. Maybe Michael should've turned the chorus over to Mike Mills... surely Mike could've come up with a punchier response than "yeah yeah yeah".

  5. ghoulsurgery

    ghoulsurgery House Ghost

    New Jersey
    We have a whole lot of “yeah”s ahead of us in a couple days!
  6. Mr. D

    Mr. D Forum Resident

  7. blaken123

    blaken123 Your Greater Tri-County CD Superstore

    United States
    yeah, yeah
    ghoulsurgery likes this.
  8. therunner

    therunner Forum Resident

    "Ignoreland" is just a standard rocker that brings R.E.M. down to the level of lots of other bands. Even Michael's unique voice struggles to sound good here. And it's not even a new idea, it sounds too much like "...End Of The World...".

  9. Mr. D

    Mr. D Forum Resident

    I think @robcar put things in perfect context.

    Being accustomed since the beginning of their career of not really knowing what the actual lyrics are to R.E.M. songs, and not looking to find out what they may be, Ignoreland is an exception. Some may not like "political" songs but to me verse 3 delivers the goods and justifies why political songs are important:

    I know that this is vitriol
    No solution, spleen-venting
    But I feel better having screamed
    Don't you?

    And while the lyrics to the song have surprisingly stood the test of time, the music of Ignoreland less so, in my opinion.

    3.75/5 down slightly from the 4 I would have likely given it in 1992.
  10. VinchVolt123

    VinchVolt123 I took a look at those hands.

    Chino Hills, CA
    "Ignoreland" is a huge outlier on Automatic for the People. The sole remnant of the album's originally intended hard rock direction, it's a massive burst of rage in the wake of nearly 12 years worth of frustration. Its direction might seem out of place on an otherwise acoustic album about nostalgia and loss, and its direction is markedly different than the calls to arms that made up prior R.E.M. protest songs. However, it still seems to fit right in despite its oddities; maybe it's the enduring relevancy of its lyrics, but its overarching "I'M FED UP WITH ALL THIS" mood doesn't seem to straddle too far away from that direction of lamenting days gone by. It's the feeling of having been so close to a goal, only to have it shoved away at the last minute and being forced to live with that for what feels like ages.

    As for the remarks of it sounding too much like the immortally iconic "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)", I never quite got that feeling from this song. Whereas "End of the World" feels like the equivalent of watching a snowball roll down a hill and wreck increasing amounts of havoc as it builds up, "Ignoreland" feels like the equivalent of the Howard Beale rant in "Network" (minus Beale's genuine lack of hinges); it's the bottle breaking and letting everything within it pour out. I could never bring myself to dislike this song, and in fact I consider it a highlight of the album. It being placed between the bleak musings of "Monty Got a Raw Deal" and the tranquil comedown of "Star Me Kitten" feels appropriate, and had this song been relegated to a B-side, I feel that Automatic for the People would've been missing something.

    While R.E.M. certainly made better protest songs before and after "Ignoreland", this track still manages to feel effectively visceral. I feel quite comfortable giving this a 4/5.
  11. J_D__

    J_D__ Forum Resident

    Huntersville, NC
    Ignoreland 2/5, this song is a little bland for me.
    brownie61 and prymel like this.
  12. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    I’m surprised to see all of the low ratings for “Ignoreland”. But, that’s one of the great things about music: we all experience it in different ways.

    4/5 from me.
  13. renderj

    renderj Forum Resident

    Ignoreland: I like this one for what it is. It does provide some form of release during an otherwise somber hushed album. Not a favorite of mine by any measure, but a fine piece of rock mixed with righteous indignation nonetheless. Maybe it should have been a standalone single between AFTP and Monster? 3.5/5
  14. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Ignoreland"
    Average: 3.5931
  15. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Star Me Kitten", written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe. Produced by Scott Litt & R.E.M.

    R.E.M. – Star Me Kitten Lyrics | Genius Lyrics
    The working title of this song was "Hey Love." It began as a demo of organ, bass, and guitar.

    The backing track of the song was later recorded at Bearsville, in New York; but the lyric was begun in Florida and the vocal recorded, like most of them, at Bad Animals Studio in Seattle. Mike Mills was specifically going for a sound like 10 cc's "I'm Not In Love", so at Scott Litt's suggestion, he sang all the notes of the backing tracks one by one, and then played the chords on the mixing board with one note for each fader.
    The title was chosen as a sort of joke: the stars standing in for the F-word. Also might allude to the Stones song "Star Star." This was apparently influenced by actress Meg Ryan:

    Michael Stipe: lead vocal
    Peter Buck: guitar
    Mike Mills: organ, mixing board, vocals
    Bill Berry: bass guitar, percussion

    The demo was originally released as the B-side of "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite"(I'll link to it below.) in 1994 and re-released on The Automatic Box, later in 1993.

    In 1996, another version, which features Michael's vocal wiped and legendary beat novelist William S. Burroughs reciting the lyric, was released on the VA compilation Songs In The Key Of X, a tie-in iwth the TV show The X-Files. I'll link to that one below, too.

    Live versions:
    • Road Movie 1996 (DVD/VHS)
  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    "Hey Love" demo:
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  17. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    William S. Burroughs version:
  18. Bob C

    Bob C Forum Resident

    So Cal
    For some reason, when I think of this song now, I think of the version with Burroughs' vocal first. Maybe because I was fan of The X-Files and listened to Songs In The Key Of X a bit. Kind of a strange collaboration on an album with several strange collaborations... There are also some interesting songs (especially X's cover of "Crystal Ship" by The Doors) on another X-Files-related disc, The X-Files: The Album, a tie-in with the Fight The Future movie.

    I like Stipe's vocal, but I think I'd also enjoy this as a straight instrumental. Still, 3.5/5 for me.
  19. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Star Me Kitten

    I can definitely hear the resemblance to I’m Not in Love in the background vocals here. I never liked that song, but the technique sounds okay here, and is probably the best thing about this song for me. Sadly, the song itself isn’t up to much and just meanders along way too aimlessly to hold my interest. Michael’s singing is kind of weird here - very deep, which isn’t a bad thing, but there’s some kind of wavering quality about it that doesn’t appeal to me. I also don’t think the very slow, aimless pace of the music suits these lyrics. Overall, I find this song pretty boring, and very tedious to listen to.

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
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  20. I can't find anything I like about this song. It's not like I can't listen to it all the way through, so I can't go all the way to the bottom, but I would never intentionally listen to it all the way through, so it won't go much higher than the bottom... It just doesn't work for me at all.

    prymel, Brian Kelly, kouzie and 2 others like this.
  21. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    Indeed. I would posit that their best "protest" song doesn't come until Accelerate.
    kouzie, ghoulsurgery and markreed like this.
  22. ARK

    ARK Forum Resident

    Charlton, MA, USA
    Ignoreland… 4/5
    **** Me Kitten… 5/5
    TexasBuck and kouzie like this.
  23. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    "Star Me Kitten" was the song I liked the least on Automatic For The People for a long time. I appreciate it far more today. The song has a languid, lazy afternoon sort of vibe to it (and lazy afternoons are maybe the best time for carnal activities). Initially, I didn't think the song fit with the mood and feel of the rest of the album, mainly lyrically. Years later, I discovered that the physical act of sex can provide a cathartic release in a moment when you are first coming to grips with the news of a tragic loss. Ever since, this song has seemed to fit much better to me on this record. I like the production here and the way Stipe sings the words, which do seem to be about one last fling before a stale relationship flickers out. The track really works well as a bridge between "Ignoreland" and "Man On The Moon". I seem to remember reading at the time the album came out that the "Star" in the title was a nod to "Star Star" from the Stones' Goats Head Soup. I like that song better than this one, but "Star Me Kitten" has its charms and is no longer to me the sole blemish on an otherwise perfect album.

    renderj, factory44, TexasBuck and 3 others like this.
  24. Library Eye

    Library Eye Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA
    Star Me Kitten
    —impeccable match of music and lyric
    languid yet horny; casually lascivious; dismissive but needy
    ARK, factory44, TexasBuck and 5 others like this.
  25. Greek Nacho

    Greek Nacho Crustaceous Cheapskate

    United States
    Star Me Kitten

    I have no idea what to make of this song. It's very sparse, Stipe's at the very bottom of his register, but the vocal pad effect with Mills is really cool. It's an interesting experiment for sure, and doesn't upset the flow of the album. Not one of my favorites on it though, probably play it less than any other song on it, even "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1." Still it is cool as a diversion and experiment. Way more successful than "King of Comedy" which just sucks.


    The song is about a kitten given human intelligence in a scientific experiment. It escaped the lab in December, and was puzzled by the fanfare. It soon learned of Santa, and used the North Star to pilot a plane towards his workshop. He crash landed in a snow storm, and Santa was able to pull the kitten out of the wreckage. However, the cat was paralyzed. Feeling sorry for it, Santa mind melded with the feline and decided to share his consciousness with it. Santa's intake of cat nip and need for a scratch post increased substantially after this incident.

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