“This one goes out to the one I love”.
With that such simple sentiment seemingly at the heart of the song, it is easy to understand why it has become a bit of a favourite among newly married couples as the wedding waltz.
The fact that the rest of the lyrics are clearly about a failed relationship, and one that the protagonist is quite happy to boast was nothing more than a passing fancy, surely means that this is a song whose true meaning has bypassed most listeners.
mp3 : R.E.M. – The One I Love
Michael Stipe, as long ago as 1988, was proclaiming the song to be incredibly violent and was about using people over and over again – an idea given further credence when you take into consideration the background refrain sung by Mike Mills – “she’s coming down on her own again”
The single was originally released in 1987 and the 12″ contained an instrumental and a live recording on the b-side:-
mp3 : R.E.M. – Last Date
mp3 : R.E.M. – Disturbance At The Heron House (live)
This particular live recording dated from 24 May 1987, when members of R.E.M. played two consecutive acoustic sets at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica as a benefit for Texas Records. Four of the songs performed were, at the time unreleased one of which was the above. As was this, which was made available on the b-side of the 12″ of It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine):-
mp3 : R.E.M. – This One Goes Out (live)
That was the original title of the song….the subsequent re-naming has, I’ve indicated, caused untold confusion.
Oh and it’s worth mentioning that the only reason we have been able to experience these McCabe recordings is that the singer enjoyed the shows so much he carried around a cassette copy of them and insisted that they be used as b-sides on subsequent singles.