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R.E.M. — How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us
Album: New Adventures in Hi-Fi
Avg rating:
6.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1263









Released: 1996
Length: 4:29
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Blood from a stone, water from wine
Born under an ill-placed sign
A stroke of bad luck, wrong place, wrong time
This flyer is out of line

The story is a sad one, told many times
The story of my life in trying times
Just add water, stir in lime
How the west was won and where it got us, ahh

The canary got trapped in the uranium mine
I struck bad luck, now the bird has died
A marker to mark where my tears run dry
At the crossing of blessed and alkaline

The story is a sad one, told many times
The story of my life in trying times
Just add water, stir in lime
How the west was won and where it got us, ahh

I didn't wear glasses 'cause I thought it might rain
Now I can't see anything
I made a mistake, chalked it up to design
I cracked through time/space, godless and dry
I point my nose to the northern star
And watch the decline from a hazy distance

The story is a sad one, told many times
The story of my life in trying times
Just add water, stir in lime
How the west was won and where it got us, ahh
Comments (104)add comment
 MattRudely wrote:

Awful.



So's your mom.
Awful.
Wow, the REM hate is strong.
I'm a fan, but this song doesn't do much for me.
Repetitive garbage.
 Hannio wrote:


What a horrible, horrible thing to say about any band.
 The most horrible thing to say about a band is that they sound like REM.

Hannio wrote:


What a horrible, horrible thing to say about any band.
 
Not an Eagles fan, eh?
 Hannio wrote:


What a horrible, horrible thing to say about any band.
 

Aw, c'mon...be kind.  I have to admit that there are lot of "commercial" artists I used to hate that now I'm far more tolerant of or even enjoy (Red Hot Chili Peppers, INXS, Bob Seger, Tom Petty), so be careful:  you might have to eat those words someday...

Hannio wrote:


What a horrible, horrible thing to say about any band.
 

Great song, great album !!
 Skydog wrote:

R.E.M. are the Eagles of alt-rock

 

What a horrible, horrible thing to say about any band.
Aaarrh, that beeeeeeeeeep thing in the background is inviting tinnitus... FUCK YOU MIKE STIPE {#Moon}
 maboleth wrote:
Weak offering?! Sometimes I wonder are we hearing two different versions of the same song. :-/

 
weak offering should be the name of the band. the piano... seriously?.. why do people care so much for this band...
Nothing like a piccolo runnin thru to ruinate the song. Or somethin  that makes the sound of a piccolo.
Shudda left it with Sousa.  {#Sorry}   Good there's always a new song next.
 DaidyBoy wrote:

Agree.  I don't enjoy this for the same reasons I don't enjoy the Gorillaz.  Stylophone tunes.

 
R.E.M. are the Eagles of alt-rock
Weak offering?! Sometimes I wonder are we hearing two different versions of the same song. :-/
 FatPants wrote:
A weak offering from one of my favorite bands of all-time.  

 
Yep.
 skooba wrote:
I just finished watching "A Million Ways to Die in the West", and this song comes up.  BillG has cameras everywhere!  {#Eyes}

 
Not to worry...if Bill has covertly joined the NSA or something, we'll just have to send a posse over to straighten him out a bit. Where's Peter Grant when you need him?  {#Wink}



Great segue from "Once Upon A Time In The West".


I don't like REM that much but I like this.
 FatPants wrote:
A weak offering from one of my favorite bands of all-time.  

 
Agree.  I don't enjoy this for the same reasons I don't enjoy the Gorillaz.  Stylophone tunes.
I just finished watching "A Million Ways to Die in the West", and this song comes up.  BillG has cameras everywhere!  {#Eyes}
A weak offering from one of my favorite bands of all-time.  
I would still like it, but I stop listening after disappointing live performances. I've been waiting many, many years to get the chance to see them. They were horrible at RockWerchter 2008, soundwise and overall. Thin air, and soon after they vanished.
That NOTE. The high cuts thru the song note.   I thought the smoke alarm had gone off.
hmmm....  I remember liking this almost 20 years ago—what was I thinking?  {#Yawn}
 Fables85 wrote:


Tiresome cliché... Lifes Rich Pageant included the first few R.E.M. throaways in an, until then, impeccable output. Did anyone know they were struggling for material by the time of Lifes Rich Pageant? That here they put a few oldies, wisely discarded before? So, they get a producer to give them a bombastic sound over the original, glorious murkiness and everybody's jaw drop. Jeez... AND, they did plenty of interesting work afterwards, even if the mystery was gone (but then how could it remain forevermore?).

Ah well... "what about the voice of Geddy Lee? how does it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy??"
 

What does Pavement have to do with it?{#Stupid}
 motobecane wrote:
I'd pretty much stopped listening to REM by the time this was released.  My loss...
 

No, I call it good timing.  They did have a few good songs after this period but not many.
The thing that's always bugged me about REM is that they come out with some feckin' brilliant songs as singles, but that their albums are, to put it mildly, mixed. Every REM album I've bought has been a disappointment as the dross (such as this song) outweighs the gold, and the CDs have ended up down the local charity shop.
I'd pretty much stopped listening to REM by the time this was released.  My loss...
 testpilot wrote:

"Cute although it works great" doesn't sound like a proper use of conjuction "although", which is supposed to express opposition, not reaffirmation. It would fit if the phrase was, for instance: "annoying although it works great" or "cute although it doesn't work great".

 
It ain't cute as in beautiful. Just like saying, "He's baaaad" means (or meant, now?) good.

But i can see your point because it jarred me too.
 bluejay08003 wrote:
Cute segue from Dire Straits "Once Upon a Time in the West" although it works great musically.  After all, you could have forced any one of the "western" themed/titled songs. 

This tune doesn't really stand alone for me, although I really like it as a first track to one of my favorite REM albums. 

 
"Cute although it works great" doesn't sound like a proper use of conjuction "although", which is supposed to express opposition, not reaffirmation. It would fit if the phrase was, for instance: "annoying although it works great" or "cute although it doesn't work great".
"AAAAARGH!" indeed.
 mandolin wrote:
...i'm not sure how much i like this album, but damn, that's a great cover...

 
This is one of those albums I bought and initially was not impressed by, but later fell in love with. It's an odd one and really requires repeated listening.
I might be completely crazy but the riff sounds very similar to an old grace jones song... Yes? No? Crazy?
Cute segue from Dire Straits "Once Upon a Time in the West" although it works great musically.  After all, you could have forced any one of the "western" themed/titled songs. 

This tune doesn't really stand alone for me, although I really like it as a first track to one of my favorite REM albums. 

Everybody in my churches loves this song...
 
Let's play DJ!
What's next? 
An Elton song from Rock of the Westies,
Theme From an Imaginary Western. 
A rap from Kanye. 
 
I really like this song except for the weird cell phone ringtone type noise in it, which is incredibly irritating.
I really like this album.  It seems to be the last one from R.E.M. that was able to capture and hold my attention.
 badstudent wrote:
Leave has a Wilco-esque element to it that haunts the speakers of any stereo.
 
Leave off this album is likely one of my top 50 songs of all time.  I don't know if it was the time of my life when I discovered it, or if the song is just that good, but no matter what is going; on it stops when the song comes on.

 mandolin wrote:
...i'm not sure how much i like this album, but damn, that's a great cover...
 
agreed. A 6 for the cover.
...i'm not sure how much i like this album, but damn, that's a great cover...
I haven't heard that album for years.

My brother and I had very different ideas about what good music was and this was one of his departures that I agreed was enlightened. There are so many songs on this album that were beautiful additions to a catalogue of brilliant songwriting. Beyond the intelligent and striking How the West Was Won and Where It Got UsLeave has a Wilco-esque element to it that haunts the speakers of any stereo. E-Bow the Letter, and the album in general, has the shine of Automatic For the People about it. But New Adventures . . . is almost the hangover of that very album. There is a bleakness in New Adventures . . . where Automatic was hopeful, confident, or empathetic.
 Fables85 wrote:
Tiresome cliché... Lifes Rich Pageant included the first few R.E.M. throaways
 
Are you sure you're not thinking of Dead Letter Office?

 beelzebubba wrote:
I think REM peaked with Lifes Rich Pageant.

The did some good and some interesting (like this song) since, but Lifes Rich Pageant was their best, most solid (every song is great) effort. That album is to REM as Moving Pictures is to Rush.
 

Tiresome cliché... Lifes Rich Pageant included the first few R.E.M. throaways in an, until then, impeccable output. Did anyone know they were struggling for material by the time of Lifes Rich Pageant? That here they put a few oldies, wisely discarded before? So, they get a producer to give them a bombastic sound over the original, glorious murkiness and everybody's jaw drop. Jeez... AND, they did plenty of interesting work afterwards, even if the mystery was gone (but then how could it remain forevermore?).

Ah well... "what about the voice of Geddy Lee? how does it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy??"

What a truly awful thing to say.  Poor REM.

 
musikalia wrote:

Me too, especially the singing.
 


 MayBaby wrote:
Hmmm... sounded INXS-ish to me.
 
Me too, especially the singing.

 zaknafein wrote:
New Adventures... is a very underrated album. Lot of people apparently didn't like Monster and skipped on this one. Big mistake, some real gems on this record.
 
I'll admit I'm one of those rabid early fans who's had a knee-jerk {#Stop} reaction to most of the Warner releases. But Bill's regular play of NAIHF, as well as the thoughtful comments on the RP boards, have brought me around on it. Thanks.

I hear a bit of The Clash in this—dig it!


 zaknafein wrote:
New Adventures... is a very underrated album. Lot of people apparently didn't like Monster and skipped on this one. Big mistake, some real gems on this record.
 
I agree with you. I like this album but I must admit that I play it less frequently than there older stuff. This song is a bit of a departure for them but I think it works.

 Smoove_D wrote:
That high-pitched background noise is driving me up a wall. Ouch.
 
I'm with you. {#Beat}
Is this the post-melodic REM?
E-Bow the Letter, from the same album, is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs. Electrolite has also stayed with me. Plus this tune.

 
Laptopdog wrote:
Funny you should say that. I recently pulled this CD out of my huge collection of CDs that I really don't care about anymore. I loaded it onto my mp3 player, and have really grown fond of it. Give it a chance to grow on you, it will.

 


Love the lyrics!
What's with the piano solo? {#Eek}
Hmmm... sounded INXS-ish to me.
Love that voice, and that alternative voyage...

window wrote:
This is one of my favorite songs from an album that I'm still hoping will win me over someday, even 11 years after purchase.
Funny you should say that. I recently pulled this CD out of my huge collection of CDs that I really don't care about anymore. I loaded it onto my mp3 player, and have really grown fond of it. Give it a chance to grow on you, it will.
That high-pitched background noise is driving me up a wall. Ouch.
When this came out I was working in a record store/skate shop/head shop, and I was by myself for an hour every Saturday morning. For months, this album was the soundtrack to that hour. I had the entire store to choose from, and this was what I wanted to hear. Every time I listen to it now, I can smell the Wild Berry incense.
meghan89 wrote:
Ok, I will! REM got famous for playing crappy music.....puke.
You and that wanker from Sweden would make a great couple. You could sit around whining and puking together all the live long day.
beelzebubba wrote:
I think REM peaked with Lifes Rich Pageant. The did some good and some interesting (like this song) since, but Lifes Rich Pageant was their best, most solid (every song is great) effort. That album is to REM as Moving Pictures is to Rush.
I believe that distinction belongs to Automatic for the People. But to each his own.
pushkinjim wrote:
Their noise makes me puke - please don't call this mediocre crap music
I thought Sweden had good prenatal care. What's the story here?
meghan89 wrote:
Ok, I will! REM got famous for playing crappy music on purpose before anyone else so they are now famous for being so called "innovators" when they are really spouting crappy, annoying music. They got even more famous because Michael Stipe wore 7 tee shirts to the MYV music awards to promote his causes. Their music makes me want to puke. Thanks for asking! :moon:
Their noise makes me puke - please don't call this mediocre crap music
suddenchad wrote:
This may be my least favorite track from the album, but I agree with this comment. A lot of people tuned out R.E.M. from Monster on, but I still think that to this day, they have never released a bad album. There are certain high quality acts that just keep turning out good stuff to the point where people take them for granted. If any of the last five R.E.M. albums had been released by some new, indie bands, they critics would have been calling them one of the best albums of the year.


This is one of my favorite songs from an album that I'm still hoping will win me over someday, even 11 years after purchase. The party line says Hi-Fi is "underrated", but it just seems to contain a lot of filler, which at the time was unheard of for R.E.M. albums.
 
I can't relate to the on-going IRS vs Warner debate. For me the line between "classic R.E.M." and "meh" was drawn when B Berry left and they began their quick fade into irrelevance through sloppy songwriting.

Suddenchad may be right that R.E.M.'s recent albums might have been received more favorably if a some new indie group had released them.  But the fact is, they aren't some new indie group - they're one of the original indie groups, whose numerous masterpieces had an unmeasureable impact on rock music.  In other words, they're R.E.M.!


zaknafein wrote:
New Adventures... is a very underrated album. Lot of people apparently didn't like Monster and skipped on this one. Big mistake, some real gems on this record.
This may be my least favorite track from the album, but I agree with this comment. A lot of people tuned out R.E.M. from Monster on, but I still think that to this day, they have never released a bad album. There are certain high quality acts that just keep turning out good stuff to the point where people take them for granted. If any of the last five R.E.M. albums had been released by some new, indie bands, they critics would have been calling them one of the best albums of the year.
zaknafein wrote:
New Adventures... is a very underrated album. Lot of people apparently didn't like Monster and skipped on this one. Big mistake, some real gems on this record.
Totally Agree. in fact thanks for playing this Bill. This serves as a reminder about this great record
cinematic in black and white. manifest destiny with a spaghetti western sound :meditate:
Sounds like Matt Johnson, aka The The.
New Adventures... is a very underrated album. Lot of people apparently didn't like Monster and skipped on this one. Big mistake, some real gems on this record.
meghan89 wrote:
i hate REM. OVERRATEDDDDDDD
Sigh. Amateur.
meghan89 wrote:
Their music makes me want to puke.
Good thing you haven't listened to music with me for the last 23 years, you'd be long dead of dehydration.
meghan89 wrote:
Ok, I will! REM got famous for playing crappy music on purpose before anyone else so they are now famous for being so called "innovators" when they are really spouting crappy, annoying music. They got even more famous because Michael Stipe wore 7 tee shirts to the MYV music awards to promote his causes. Their music makes me want to puke. Thanks for asking! :moon:
...but on a Rusted Root song, meghan89 wrote:
Come on in to the anti-snob clubhouse! We turn up our pointy noses at music snobs who hate artists that are either happy or make money!
Bizzarefall wrote:
tell us how you realy feel... ;)
Ok, I will! REM got famous for playing crappy music on purpose before anyone else so they are now famous for being so called "innovators" when they are really spouting crappy, annoying music. They got even more famous because Michael Stipe wore 7 tee shirts to the MYV music awards to promote his causes. Their music makes me want to puke. Thanks for asking! :moon:
meghan89 wrote:
i hate REM. OVERRATEDDDDDDD
tell us how you realy feel... ;)
i hate REM. OVERRATEDDDDDDD
First REM song I really dig -. Enjoy the keys (understatement).
Wake-up Bomb Bittersweet me E-bow Binky the Doormat Low Desert! lots of good ones on here.
southern_duality wrote:
Good song from a very underrated REM album...
I Couldn't agree more... lots of texture to the tunes on this CD
midnight oilish (surprisingly)
I like it, but it sounds like my tinnitus is getting worse. . .
Good song from a very underrated REM album...
IndyDoug wrote:
Good song but not the best from this CD.
I agree. There are a lot of hidden gems on this record. Some of my favorite REM tracks come from Hi-Fi
love this song!
Good song but not the best from this CD.
Illustr8r wrote:
The organ sound is actually Michael Stipe letting a squeaker go. A very LONG squeaker. :butt:
Then he truly is a master. The pitch control is pure genuis. :notworthy:
boring song with an occassionally beating to an organ. :headache.gif: :headache.gif: :headache.gif: :headache.gif: :headache.gif:
the organ is great, you need to practise listening more, just can't argue about quality...
The organ sound is actually Michael Stipe letting a squeaker go. A very LONG squeaker. :butt:
it's like calling a fax machine...make it stop...
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! Indeed. :butt:
heeb wrote:
The organ hurts my ears... :frustrated:
I couldn't agree more. It reminds me of those old test signal on tv or something. :puke: Cheers Peter
I think REM peaked with Lifes Rich Pageant. The did some good and some interesting (like this song) since, but Lifes Rich Pageant was their best, most solid (every song is great) effort. That album is to REM as Moving Pictures is to Rush.
adam2709 wrote:
Hey remember when REM was a rock band? Those days are long gone. :frustrated:
R.E.M. was never a rock band. That doesn't mean that I'm not a fan. :nodhead:
why is it some rem fans can\'t get past \"driver 8\"? grow up already :roll:
The organ hurts my ears... :frustrated:
A friend of mine recorded me this album and forgot this song. That\'s why I thought that \"New Adventures\" was a very good album. Songs like \"Leave\" are 100 better than this awful song. THANKS my FRIEND!!