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R.E.M. — I Remember California
Album: Green
Avg rating:
6.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1102









Released: 1988
Length: 4:44
Plays (last 30 days): 0
I remember redwood trees, bumper cars and wolverines
The ocean's Trident submarines
Lemons, limes and tangerines
I remember this

I remember traffic jams
Motor boys and girls with tans
Nearly was and almost rans
I remember this

History is made
History is made to seem unfair

I recall that you were there
Golden smile and shining hair
I recall it wasn't fair
Recollect it wasn't fair
Remembering it wasn't fair outside

Low ebb, high tide
The lowest ebb and highest tide
A symbol wave I must confide
I guess we took us for a ride
I guess it's just a gesture

I remember this defense
Progress fails pacific sense
All those sweet conspiracies
I remember all these things

I remember traffic jams
Motor boys and girls with tans
Nearly was and almost rans
I remember this, this

Low ebb, high tide
The lowest ebb and highest tide
I guess we took us for a ride
I guess its just a gesture.

At the end of the continent
At the edge of the continent
Comments (184)add comment
 h8rhater wrote:

Bang!  Right in the coccyx.

 
{#Roflol}

That's gotta smart.
This REM is PSD!
I remeber, taking those ferryboats from Athens to Crete back in 1989 and this was the only tape we listenend all night on the boat deck, this song always takes me to that sunrise view and glimse of Crete... {#Good-vibes} I remeber .... 
 GTT wrote:
This song is truly ugly.  Was California really that bad?

 
The place was great until all the Easterners migrated there in the 70's and ruined the place. 
I was studying in a religious seminary on a kibbutz in Israel when Q Magazine announced that REM were the greatest band in the world (circa 1988) and gave Green 5 stars. Someone flew to England bought it on vinyl recorded it to tape and brought it to us in the seminary.

It's a great album. This is a great track.

 Q Magazine December 1988
 coccyx wrote:
shooooot
       meeeeee 

 
Gladleeee
 
Saw the Green tour.  They had projected some video behind them with what looked like a bunch of fish swimming around.  

Would we have expected anything else? 
 coccyx wrote:
shooooot
       meeeeee 

 
Bang!  Right in the coccyx.
Fantastic song. Not many like it here, but it borrows many elements from the UK scene at that time. Ringing guitars, melancholy and goth.
 jbuhl wrote:
 Zedediah wrote:
They were interesting for a while. I'm kinda done with Stipe's monotoning through mope-rock. They don't hold up. It's like listening to Black Sabbath or something... yaaawwwwnnnn.


"In the fields the bodies burning,
as the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind,
poisoning their brainwashed minds...Oh lord yeah"

When you look inside the industrialized war complex these words seem apropos 

 
That is exactly what came to my mind when I read the second sentence, too funny. 
shooooot
       meeeeee 
 Zedediah wrote:
They were interesting for a while. I'm kinda done with Stipe's monotoning through mope-rock. They don't hold up. It's like listening to Black Sabbath or something... yaaawwwwnnnn.


"In the fields the bodies burning,
as the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind,
poisoning their brainwashed minds...Oh lord yeah"

When you look inside the industrialized war complex these words seem apropos 
Their tunes were often great, but lyrics...? Cripes, what a charlatan Michael Stipe is! "Let me dress frivolousness into vagueness, I might look deep."

And too many people bought this. Me included, a couple of times.

Interestingly though, while that strategy often yielded truly cringe-worthy naivete, there were some pretty effective lines, too.
In this particular song "History is made to seem unfair" almost meant something. Almost!
 Zedediah wrote:
They were interesting for a while. I'm kinda done with Stipe's monotoning through mope-rock. They don't hold up. It's like listening to Black Sabbath or something... yaaawwwwnnnn.

 
Yeah but sometimes it's good to mope. Or at least the music itself is good if the lyrics aren't doing much for you.

And Sabbath's first album is still creepy to hear now & then. {#Clap}

 evansdad wrote:
This song is dreary.
   

ick wrote:

That just might be the point.

 
You mean, to bore and depress people? I normally really like REM but this is pretty blah. PSD time. 
They were interesting for a while. I'm kinda done with Stipe's monotoning through mope-rock. They don't hold up. It's like listening to Black Sabbath or something... yaaawwwwnnnn.
 Tippster wrote:
Such a great album.

 
{#Clap}
The music is an abstract phenomenon - yet in case of REM it manages to seem less abstract than their lyrics...
Such a great album.
Everybody in my alien space craft loves this song...
R.E.M. - This is not mine
 GTT wrote:
This song is truly ugly.  Was California really that bad?
 
It isn't all bad. There are, like anywhere else, good and bad things. The song hits the low ebb and the high tides.
This song is truly ugly.  Was California really that bad?
 bb_matt wrote:

Monster was ok, but after that, not so good. 

 
Yech, I did not like Monster at all. I didn't mind New Adventures in Hi-Fi, but the three after that were just awful. Their last two albums before calling it quits were pretty darn good, though!

I'll always remember trying to sell my CD copy of Monster, but the local record shop would only give me 5 cents because they already had a huge stack of used copies.
 enkay wrote:

I wouldn'tsay they stopped in the early 90's but I'd beprepared to suggest they should have.
 
Monster was ok, but after that, not so good. 
 sirdroseph wrote:


Some will say they stopped in the early 90s.  I would be one of those, but to each his own.

 
I wouldn'tsay they stopped in the early 90's but I'd beprepared to suggest they should have.
Alice in chains...(Before they graduated high school, of course)
 rdo wrote:
{#Cry}  I miss REM.  Why did they stop?  

 

Some will say they stopped in the early 90s.  I would be one of those, but to each his own.
{#Cry}  I miss REM.  Why did they stop?  

This profound song ROCKS...  love it...
 

Shazam!  Love it!  Amen!
 
 Dave_Mack wrote:
Wolverines?  Not sure he's thinking of the same California I'm thinking of.

 
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/07/david-messa-hiker-photo-wolverine-california_n_1577807.html


The signature darkish weirdness of R.E.M. 

I like!

marvelous...  love this song...
 
 evansdad wrote:
This song is dreary.

Even if it is the point of the song, it is still a "lesser effort" by a great band.



Everybody in my church loves this song...
 
 evansdad wrote:
This song is dreary.
 
That just might be the point.
 Cynaera wrote:
 romeotuma wrote:
Fortunately, the song "I Remember California" is a fantastic classic, from a seminal album...
I still have hope that maybe R.E.M. will put out another great album again...  we shall see...

Sad news, my friend - R.E.M. have disbanded. I read it a few days ago. A moment of silence, as we pay our last respects to one of the most amazing bands in the past four decades... {#Cheers}
 
Miss you so much, Cynaera...

 
This is the kind of deep cut that I love to hear. Anyone can safely play Stand or Orange Crush, so props to you for digging deeper. 
dark stoner music isn't exactly spring in step-putting for me...

(former member) wrote:


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this winter evening...

 
 


I remember 1988. Like it was 24 years ago. (Really? Damn.)
This was my first rem cd, still keep it in my box of rotation CDs. Thanks
 cohifi wrote:

That is a LOT of green!    Certainly not the most popular tune, but the guys do seem to all be on the same page on this!
 
This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this spring evening...  and it is from a GREAT album...

hope you are having fun right this minute!

 
 window wrote:
This album often gets crapped-on, but I think it holds up pretty well these many decades later.  Great band interplay, Stipes continues on a lyrical winning-streak, varying moods and textures.  Even this song, my least favorite on Green, is pretty strong.
Then again, that may just be the nostalgia talking. 
 
Not nostalgia at all.  This is a great album, period. 

 
 window wrote:
Even this song, my least favorite on Green, is pretty strong.
  Really?  You prefer "Pop Song 89" to this?  {#Eek}


This song is dreary.
This album often gets crapped-on, but I think it holds up pretty well these many decades later.  Great band interplay, Stipes continues on a lyrical winning-streak, varying moods and textures.  Even this song, my least favorite on Green, is pretty strong.
Then again, that may just be the nostalgia talking. 
It's amazing what you can learn on RP
 romeotuma wrote:


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this winter evening...

 
 
That is a LOT of green!    Certainly not the most popular tune, but the guys do seem to all be on the same page on this!
not a big REM fan but I love the drums in this song
 


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this winter evening...

 
 Cynaera wrote:
 romeotuma wrote:
Fortunately, the song "I Remember California" is a fantastic classic, from a seminal album...
I still have hope that maybe R.E.M. will put out another great album again...  we shall see...

Sad news, my friend - R.E.M. have disbanded. I read it a few days ago. A moment of silence, as we pay our last respects to one of the most amazing bands in the past four decades... {#Cheers}
 

I hear you...  hope you are having a nice day...  love this song...

 
One of those RP sets that flows beautifully — from Morphine to Low (had never heard them before now) to Neil Young and now REM. Good stuff!
 romeotuma wrote:
Fortunately, the song "I Remember California" is a fantastic classic, from a seminal album...
I still have hope that maybe R.E.M. will put out another great album again...  we shall see...


Sad news, my friend - R.E.M. have disbanded. I read it a few days ago. A moment of silence, as we pay our last respects to one of the most amazing bands in the past four decades... {#Cheers}
I remember the Beach Boys.

Sigh.


We be dancing...  love it...



 
 Shimmer wrote:

If even romeotuma doesn't like an R.E.M. song, you can be certain it's no good.
 


Fortunately, the song "I Remember California" is a fantastic classic, from a seminal album...

I still have hope that maybe R.E.M. will put out another great album again...  we shall see...


 
Melody
Hooks
Interesting
Not excessively noisy

If only REM could create music like this in their recent albums, sigh... 
 Shimmer wrote:

If even romeotuma doesn't like an R.E.M. song, you can be certain it's no good.
 
Even if he DOES like it as well!
 romeotuma wrote:


What a relief to hear such a great classic by R.E.M., compared to that horrific new song by them called Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I that we heard earlier...

this California song that I remember is a classic from a great album...  love it...

 

 
If even romeotuma doesn't like an R.E.M. song, you can be certain it's no good.

 coy wrote:

isn't it true that all disappointment has it's roots in expectation ?
just a thought that occurs to me when i read all the criticism of songs i like on rp
which almost all
maybe i have no discrimination
would you be happy if you had no past ?
another zen question

 
It works the other way around too, you know. There are many great songs I would never have heard if I had no previous expectations.

I mean, when Abbey Road came out in 1969, do you think it was silly of people to expect a great album? They were not disappointed.



What a relief to hear such a great classic by R.E.M., compared to that horrific new song by them called Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I that we heard earlier...

this California song that I remember is a classic from a great album...  love it...

 

I actually really like this album, but not this song.{#No}
 Shimmer wrote:

"It's own weight" means the music is ponderous and the lyrics are pretentious. As a result, the song is heavy, but not meaty. Still, I do enjoy it enough to listen all the way through.

As for "Green" as a whole, it was the first R.E.M. record for which my initial "WTF?" was never fully replaced with "OMG!" It does have some great songs, though: Get Up, You Are The Everything, Stand are all top-notch and Turn You Inside Out is good rock. Most of the other songs are better left forgotten. I've never fully recovered from the disappointment of seeing the words to the god-awful World Leader Pretend printed on the sleeve like poetry.
 
isn't it true that all disappointment has it's roots in expectation ?
just a thought that occurs to me when i read all the criticism of songs i like on rp
which almost all
maybe i have no discrimination
would you be happy if you had no past ?
another zen question

 paulmack wrote:

What do you mean 'it's own weight'? But you may just be amply illustrating my comment below about lots of people not being too thrilled with 'Green'. Personally, I date the career slide as foreshadowed in 'Out of Time' and 'Automatic for the People' (even though I love about half of the songs on each) and really showing by 'Monster' and 'New Adventures in Hi-fi'.

 
"It's own weight" means the music is ponderous and the lyrics are pretentious. As a result, the song is heavy, but not meaty. Still, I do enjoy it enough to listen all the way through.

As for "Green" as a whole, it was the first R.E.M. record for which my initial "WTF?" was never fully replaced with "OMG!" It does have some great songs, though: Get Up, You Are The Everything, Stand are all top-notch and Turn You Inside Out is good rock. Most of the other songs are better left forgotten. I've never fully recovered from the disappointment of seeing the words to the god-awful World Leader Pretend printed on the sleeve like poetry.


 Shimmer wrote:

It wasn't born real well either. The release of Shiny Happy People as a single was definitely a low point in the R.E.M. saga.

As for the song we're actually listening to, I categorize it as a guilty pleasure - I enjoy listening to it, even though it can't really bear it's own weight.

 
What do you mean 'it's own weight'? But you may just be amply illustrating my comment below about lots of people not being too thrilled with 'Green'. Personally, I date the career slide as foreshadowed in 'Out of Time' and 'Automatic for the People' (even though I love about half of the songs on each) and really showing by 'Monster' and 'New Adventures in Hi-fi'.

Surprises me that this song comes out an overall 6.7. But then, I've sometimes gotten the sense that many saw both 'Document' and 'Green' as some kind of sellout on REM's part. Never got that sense myself - quite the opposite, in fact. Both seem to me the ideal combinations of instrumentation and production to go along with Stype's off-kilter Southern Gothic lyrics. And 'Green', in my opinion, just flat out rocks - which is what I've always been a sucker for. Big guitar, exploding drums, and bent images.
 treatment_bound wrote:

I actually heard "Shiny Happy People" (which thankfully hasn't made it to RP's playlist) on the way to work today.

I'm going to go gently, and just say it hasn't "aged" real well, but I'd love to read your thoughts on it...
 
It wasn't born real well either. The release of Shiny Happy People as a single was definitely a low point in the R.E.M. saga.

As for the song we're actually listening to, I categorize it as a guilty pleasure - I enjoy listening to it, even though it can't really bear it's own weight.

"Motor boys and girls with teeyannns" {#Headache}


great song...  love it...

 
a tolerabale R.E.M song
 Jelani wrote:
plodding whiney tripe.
 
I actually heard "Shiny Happy People" (which thankfully hasn't made it to RP's playlist) on the way to work today.

I'm going to go gently, and just say it hasn't "aged" real well, but I'd love to read your thoughts on it...


plodding whiney tripe.

R.E.M. .07 by *alexivanov-ru
Alexey Ivanov   ©2009-2010 *alexivanov-ru

R.E.M. @ Sziget-2008, Budapest, Hungary


 crockydile wrote:
Why did I rate this a 1? It's not that bad...{#Think}
 
Yes, it is.
Why did I rate this a 1? It's not that bad...{#Think}
Wolverines?  Not sure he's thinking of the same California I'm thinking of.
Good to hear this song again!
 
 peter_james_bond wrote:

Of course it's my opinion partner, I never said I was the official judge of anything, I was just disagreeing with that other hombre. (who was expressing his opinion too) I could've rounded up some other folks who agree with this old cow poke but who has time for that? Now I'm going to saddle up Trigger and we can both head off in search of some little doggies, and a couple of cowgirls too...YeeHaw! Let's ride!

 
Awww, Prairie sheeiiitt!  and I was hopin' we could sit round the campfire an' bake up some beans an have a real blast!  Well, I guess I'll just go mend my chaps, then!

This song has great lyrics BTW.


"I will sink with California when it falls into the sea"...
(youth brigade)



This song is cool...  love it...


 buddy wrote:

...and great transition from Low's On the Edge Of to Neil Young's Words and then this, bro....

 


I hear ya...



 peter_james_bond wrote:

Of course it's my opinion partner, I never said I was the official judge of anything, I was just disagreeing with that other hombre. (who was expressing his opinion too) I could've rounded up some other folks who agree with this old cow poke but who has time for that? Now I'm going to saddle up Trigger and we can both head off in search of some little doggies, and a couple of cowgirls too...YeeHaw! Let's ride!

 

That is very funny!  Love reading this stuff ... peter_james_bond  I like you


fantastic song...

 paulmack wrote:
With all due respect (and even if I agree with you), just because you "can testify that they are all good albums" -  who made you the official judge of "good"? It's an opinion, remember? Not fact. Having said that, I've probably written something like this myself and not even realized it, so I'm probably just as guilty, if not more so, since I'm the one on the high horse here.
 
Of course it's my opinion partner, I never said I was the official judge of anything, I was just disagreeing with that other hombre. (who was expressing his opinion too) I could've rounded up some other folks who agree with this old cow poke but who has time for that? Now I'm going to saddle up Trigger and we can both head off in search of some little doggies, and a couple of cowgirls too...YeeHaw! Let's ride!

"I remember ... nearly was and almost rans ... I remember this ... this."

Brilliant. 
 j7 wrote:
The hostility towards REM is obviously from people that didn't even hear of them until Out of Time.

 

Possibly, but I'm inclined to think that there's something they just wouldn't like no matter what. And that's fine - doesn't bother me a bit. Nevertheless, I'll never understand the intense need to trash. Doesn't change anything by saying negative stuff. But go ahead if you must.
The hostility towards REM is obviously from people that didn't even hear of them until Out of Time.

Gednabb wrote: I gotta say this station has made me appreciate how much I can't stand REM, Elvis Costello, and David Byrne (any project he's fronting)

lemmoth wrote:
I guess I won't be running into you at any shows by these three amazing fantastic wonderful talented eclectic ingenious artists in our shared hometown.

lemmoth: nor would you want to, apparently. By the way, I agree with you.


love it... from a great album...


 Gednabb wrote:
I gotta say this station has made me appreciate how much I can't stand REM, Elvis Costello, and David Byrne (any project he's fronting)

 
I guess I won't be running into you at any shows by these three amazing fantastic wonderful talented eclectic ingenious artists in our shared hometown. 
 peter_james_bond wrote:

I have to disagree with this post. While Green is not their best album it is still a solid effort and I don't see how Fox ruined their songs. I have all the other recordings mentioned, except for They Might Be Giants, and I can testify that they are all good albums. Oranges and Lemons and Our Time in Eden are also critically acclaimed.
 

With all due respect (and even if I agree with you), just because you "can testify that they are all good albums" -  who made you the official judge of "good"? It's an opinion, remember? Not fact. Having said that, I've probably written something like this myself and not even realized it, so I'm probably just as guilty, if not moreso, since I'm the one on the high horse here.
 squidish wrote:
I recall that we heard Bill play
Songs of current and our old hey days
I remember the banana's dance
And some people having a problem with France
I remember this.

 
This will be an instant hit.  Here are some more members of your band to record your masterpiece!!!{#Bananapiano}{#Bananajam}
 gutboy wrote:
I remember that my (ex)wife left me and went to California. She came back, I forgave but never forgot.
I remember this. My lowest ebb.
 Wow — if it's any consolation, my lowest ebb was at the time this record came out, too.  I'm still not sure if this music IS bleak and angry or if I flavored it that way.


Is this a "poorly tuned guitars" set? {#Ask}

Blasterpiece


This song is soooo good for the ears...


Grim.


excellent song...




cool...




love it...


I remember that my (ex)wife left me and went to California. She came back, I forgave but never forgot.
I remember this. My lowest ebb.


 andrewimft wrote:
I'll weigh in on this: best song on their worst album— Paul Fox, an awful producer ruined their songs with an unsubtle block of sound approach that sounds like it was recorded using jackhammers in an empty concrete room. The songwriting on this record is good, the delivery is wrong and clunky.

Fox hurt XTC with his production of Oranges and Lemons, he damaged 10000 Maniacs with Our Time In Eden, and almost completely destroyed They Might Be Giants with John Henry. Either that, or he has a knack for catching bands in a transitional phase expirementing with putting their sound in a giant tin can.

 
I have to disagree with this post. While Green is not their best album it is still a solid effort and I don't see how Fox ruined their songs. I have all the other recordings mentioned, except for They Might Be Giants, and I can testify that they are all good albums. Oranges and Lemons and Our Time in Eden are also critically acclaimed.
I agree with the awful REM but not Elvis and David Byrne. 
I turn off Radio Paradise whenever they play that whiney Michael Tripe... Snipe

I really like RP but man, they have to stop playing that atrocious REM.

 
Gednabb wrote:
I gotta say this station has made me appreciate how much I can't stand REM, Elvis Costello, and David Byrne (any project he's fronting)

 




Great song...


 Gednabb wrote:

who is "we all"?

 
It's a southern expression, like y'all. . .


 VicEdee wrote:
and, for the record,, we all LOVE: REM, Elvis Costello (old stuff),
and ANYTHING David Byrne is fronting.........!
 
who is "we all"?

and, for the record,, we all LOVE: REM, Elvis Costello (old stuff),
and ANYTHING David Byrne is fronting.........!
A brilliant reflection on the loss of landscape, from a truly underappreciated album.
I gotta say this station has made me appreciate how much I can't stand REM, Elvis Costello, and David Byrne (any project he's fronting)

 jlind wrote:

I meant this song belongs on an anti-greatest hits album, I don't know enough about the album as a whole to comment on it.
 
Ah, but that means you don't know enough about REM to comment on this song either.  But ignorance never did give anyone pause here...


I'll weigh in on this: best song on their worst album— Paul Fox, an awful producer ruined their songs with an unsubtle block of sound approach that sounds like it was recorded using jackhammers in an empty concrete room. The songwriting on this record is good, the delivery is wrong and clunky.

Fox hurt XTC with his production of Oranges and Lemons, he damaged 10000 Maniacs with Our Time In Eden, and almost completely destroyed They Might Be Giants with John Henry. Either that, or he has a knack for catching bands in a transitional phase expirementing with putting their sound in a giant tin can.

mandolin wrote:
...this has to be my favorite REM album...
I meant this song belongs on an anti-greatest hits album, I don't know enough about the album as a whole to comment on it.
jlind wrote:
This has to be on the Worst of REM album.
Shiny Happy People on Out of Time is the worst album. Bubble gum garbage. The rest of REM is very good to great.
jlind wrote:
This has to be on the Worst of REM album.
...this has to be my favorite REM album...
What a great song to torment Californiatwin. . .
I hear some Dengue Fever in there.
plod plod plod plod (cymbal crash) plod plod plod.
This has to be on the Worst of REM album.
nope. nuh-uh. nope nope nope.