So Fast, So Numb
New Adventures In Hi-Fi | 1996
Listen Original Listen Final Mix

About the Arrangement

This will be an interesting first attempt. I’ll keep it simple with the drums and use an existing rock loop. Since this is so distortion heavy, I can get away with that more than on a cleaner song. My apologies to Bill. Piano will also be difficult to reproduce as I’ll be limited to midi.

Beyond the drums, I’ll try to keep this close to the original arrangent. I’ll be adding a high distorted guitar part throuought to follow the lyrics. The organ is also very distinct and I’ll have to spend some time getting that down.

This will really be a way to test guitar settings on garageband. Most of my recording has been either small folk ensembles. Distortion will be fin to mess with.

The dynamic arrangement of this song is what I love so much about it. The drums and bass dropping out near the end is a trick hard to pull off. Check out Outkast’s “Chonkyfire” for another great example.

So for the full arrangement we have two distorted guitars plus a solo tone. B3 organ comes in and out for more padding. Rest is drums, acoustic guitar, bass and keys. I’ll play the organ and piano tracks through midi on my laptop keyboard. Drums will be the only mulligan for me on this one. All other instruments will be played.

Song Meaning

This is a song with several allusions to drug use and overdosing. I’m not sure if Michael is speaking to himelf or a third party. he references “Motel Boy” in the first verse, which could be himself as the band was touring while mnaking Hi-Fi. The lover in the song could be the band and touring itself. Though the “Devil’s Hill” line refers to where the Wright brothers stopped after the first flight. So the preson he is referring to is likely not himself as the singer stopped before whatever the subject went on to do.

Either way, it serves as a cautionary tale of sorts from the singer. The subject is someone the singer is concerned about going too far with something, Hence the drug metaphor. Which depening on the case might not be a metaphor and just be one of Stipe’s friends. Most speculation on the webs say its River Phoenix, so let’s go with that.

To me, the song evokes my own refusal to persue music as seriously as I thought I would. When I sing, I address one of my friends who burned themselves out persuing a career in music or engineering. It’s been a compromise my entire life to not be making music in order to have a great family. I’m pretty happy that I’ve the kids and the job are at a good place for me to carve out time for music again.