Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Stand in the place that you live"

I've only heard this song three times over the past week, and I have to write about it.


By R.E.M., 'Stand' was one of their singles off their album Green in 1989. It was one of the bigger hits, peaking at #6 in the U.S., 48 in the U.K., and 16 in the C. (this country).


I first heard it earlier this week. I almost collapsed in laughter.
The reason for that was just the sound of the song, and what I'd thought I'd heard. When I heard the song, what I thought I'd heard was this: "I'm standing in the place where you live." My immediate idea was that the singer was stalking someone, and informing them by phone or cell phone that they're currently standing in their house.


All in a normal, sing-along, casual manner.


Of course, that wasn't what I'd heard. My laughter at the suggested sound and scenario was, alas, inappropriate.


Actually, the song is more about 'finding direction in one's life' (at least according to Wikipedia). The singer is addressing someone who is nonplussed and uninterested with going anywhere in life, prodding him to get some direction, stand in the place where they live, where they work, and think about direction ("Wonder why you haven't before").


Kind of reminds me of myself, because I don't know what I want to do. Only two words appear to me when I think of it: Documentaries and novels.


The music video is no less odd. It features everyday tasks in detail, as well as three or four people dancing ridiculously on a giant compass painted on the floor.



The music itself is upbeat and kind of bright. It makes me think it's always returning to the point or breaking something down into simpler terms for someone who can't figure something out.


It's kind of reminiscent of Supertramp's 'Dreamer' of 1974, another bright cheery song (bright due to the Wurlitzer keyboard and high-pitched voice, not a guitar) in which the singer is talking to someone he feels does nothing but dream along, never doing anything or feeling sad ("can you put your hands on your head, oh no!") but just thinking and dreaming. The singer points out there's not a lot he can do.


In essence, it's up to you to meet your goal or figure it out, "work it out someday" (Dreamer) and to use your head "which is there to move you along." (Stand). However, I tend to think that 'Stand' sounds just a little bit, to the untrained listener who has trouble finding the meaning in a song, like it's a training tune for toddlers on how to walk.
But I'm sure no one really thinks that. No one is that literal.


Music: B+
Lyrics: A-


By the way, as for myself, sure, I am a dreamer to an extent. But you know, I've getting there. I am just going very slowly. I handed out a few resumes today. It's the first step towards documentaries and novels - though I'd get further on the novel idea if my mother would finish proofreading my first draft of the one I've already written.
Yeah, yeah.


Justin C.

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