Living Well Is The Best Revenge
Accelerate | 2008
Listen Original Listen Final Mix


Michael said the song was about, “that puff adder Bill O’Reilly, although his shrill offspring are even more venal and pathetic than he was.” The song is a fountain of anger - the singer is turning the tables on a television or radio personality.

The guitar is a nice change of pace here after three early REM songs. Peter was playing completely different by this point, so I was interested to see what he’s doing with open strings here. True to form, it’s based on planting your fingers in one spot and arpeggiating around them.

THe opening riff plucked similarly to “Near Wild Heaven”, but much faster and distorted. It digs right into that B5 power chord, giving it a heft that sets it apart from Peter’s other arpeggiated riffs. It also plays well into distortion. It resolves into the open E and B strings at several points.

Learning this one in two parts, each one leading into that E string, helps to smooth out that performance. I’m giving myself several days to practice this one on acoustic and electric. THe more muscle memory sits in on this one the better. I’d really like to get a single complete take of the intro riff instead of piecing a composite togethre.


The vocals from both Mike and Michael here are pure fire. Mike especially gets to take a prominant place in the vocal mix. Mike’s bass part here is like nothing I’ve heard from him. It hits a driving 8th note pulse to keep the song moving forward, but still hits the syncopated parts in the chorus.

Playing the bass part was a workout. I’m playing this at 184bpm. FOr the bass, I played through the entire song three times and made a composite.