This one goes out….(amended)

Another indulgent trip down memory lane.

For reasons of being physically delicate recently I haven’t been out of the house for the past few days. Today I did and, as often the case, had the ipod on shuffle in the car. I heard a song that I have listened to hundreds, maybe thousands, of times before but not for some time. REM’s The One I Love. Video and lyrics below.

This was released on the album Document and as a single in the US in 1987 but not as a single in the UK until 1991. It clearly found its way across the pond as a single because I have clear memories of it being played as a single in late 87 and through 88. This was in the days when REM were far more “alternative” than mainstream.

One of my main memories is watching various couples in pubs and bars looking lovingly into each others eyes when this was playing. People would even dedicate it to their loved ones in clubs. It was missing the point by a mile. It is not a love song. At least not in any conventional sense. The one I love is ironic (seems some Americans can do irony after all.” I picked up on this first time I heard it. It seems obvious. I was tuned into the emotion at that particular time anyway, but it’s still obvious. The words “a simple prop to occupy my time” were a knife in the guts to me at the time. The echo “another prop has occupied my time” just twisted the knife. Oh no, it’s definitely not a love song. It was a song that screamed in my face at that time. Apparently the “chorus” of Fire was initially just a scream. At first Stipe said if people wanted to think it was a love song he was happy with that. Later he was to say “It’s very clear that it’s about using people over and over again”.

It’s odd that I have a lot of closely related memories coming at me at the moment. Also memories of people coming and talking to me during songs. In a recent post I talked about an old friend with whom my first real contact was to be given a big telling off. Then my final contact with her was to get another telling off shortly before she died. After the first telling off my next proper contact with her was when The One I Love was playing. I was in a bar we both used to go to frequently and there was a disco running. As a prelude to all the slower songs at the end of the evening (also known affectionately as the Erection Section) the DJ played The One I Love. There was a handful of couples gyrating and looking lovingly at each other and I must have been showing what I thought. A woman, my old friend, sidled up to me and said into my ear “I know why you’ve got that knowing grin. You’re being an intellectual snob”. No doubt I was! That was the beginning of our rehabilitation following our initial quarrel. There is another piece of serendipity in the video. The girl in the slip bears some resemblance to this old friend (although she doesn’t have her very striking hair colour). I’m sad that she’s no longer with us. I didn’t think having memories of someone but nobody to share them with would be so difficult.

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
A simple prop, to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire
Fire

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
A simple prop, to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire
(She’s comin’ down on her own, now)
Fire
(She’s comin’ down on her own, now)

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
Another prop has occupied my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire
(She’s comin’ down on her own, now)
Fire
(She’s comin’ down on her own, now)
Fire
(She’s comin’ down on her own, now)
Fire
(She’s comin’ down on her own, now)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s