New Adventures In Hi-Fi | 1996
Listen Original Listen Final Mix


“Leave” is on the short list for my favorite REM songs. Gun to my head top 2 are this and “Harborcoat”. Its the centerpiece of “New Adventures” that holds together through seven minutes. “Leave” for me syntheesizes everything great about heavier REM songs together while pointing ahnead to the experiments of “Up”.

The melody is one of their alltime best. The “siren” synthesizer is almost wrestling for control against the vocals. What should be the most annoying sound ever instead is tamed completely by this melody. I think the guys realized this melody could potentially collapse society with it’s beauty. Like the Monty Pything “World’s Most Danerous Joke” sketch. It had to be tempered with a piercing siren.

Even without the long intro, it would be tough to pack this melody into a three minute pop song. The verse needs to repeat itself to establish the minor chords before shifting to the relative major on the chorus. Both section motifs start, hover around and end on the third of the current root chord (Bb minor verse, Db Major chorus). Giving this melody enough room to establish and breathe seems like the right choice.

Streaching Project Goals (…vested interestt, united ties)

When I made my decision to write a new cover of the next song, I was not expecting this one. I haveen’t put too much thought into it yet, but it immediately feels like a perfect candidate for this while being very challenging.

At seven minutes, it was never destined for a massive hit. My first thought is to make a version of “Leave” that is played like a “Murmur” era song. I could shift the key down to Am and use open E and B strings like on most of his jangles. That and a more melodic bass part would go a long way to making this sound more like an early REM song. Will probably take longer than usual, but it will be nice to create something a bit more original.