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Radio Song by R.E.M.

Album: Out of TimeReleased: 1991Charted:
  • The opening track on Out of Time, "Radio Song" features the influential rapper KRS-One. R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck explained to Guitar School in 1991: "When we wrote it out, we only had acoustic guitar, bongos, bass, organ, and a 12-string over the chorus. When we got to the studio we added drums, and I put down some funk guitars and we thought, 'Well, gee, now it's kind of a funk song.' And Michael suggested bringing in KRS, since he'd worked with him before (KRS-One appeared in a public service announcement for Stipe's C-Hundred film production company). It blows people's mind, and gets them thinking, 'Whoa, what's the rest of the record going to be like?' But then we go into 'Losing My Religion,' which is probably the most typical R.E.M.-sounding song on the record."
  • KRS-One was originally only supposed to sing "hey, hey, hey" on the song, but was inspired to write a rap that helped sum up what the message was.
  • Most of the Out of Time album was recorded with the musicians playing straight through, and any mistakes included in the final mix. This song was the exception, and according to Peter Buck, that's because they changed keys in the middle of the sessions. Said Buck: "We had cut it in E, but changed it to F. When Michael started singing it, he said, 'Man, I don't know what it is, but I can't get the tension I need.' I suggested F sharp, which was too high, then we tried F, which was perfect, because there were certain places his voice needed to be on that song."
  • A single version of the song comes with the intro, "More music, less talk. WREM."
  • Fittingly, this song came out at the same time R.E.M. was breaking through on commercial radio thanks to "Losing My Religion." The band never put much effort into creating hits, which helps account for their longevity, as they don't put pressure on themselves to get on the radio.
  • This was featured in the 1992 Cameron Crowe comedy Singles, and in the 1991 Beverly Hills, 90210 episode "Down and Out of District in Beverly Hills."
  • Producer Scott Litt told Mojo there were plenty of little experiments and ideas going on during the recording of Out of Time. "On Radio Song I had a James Brown beat going on a little sampler and that was under the track –R.E.M. played over it," he said. "Then we took the original James Brown sample off. I'm kind of down on myself for that. Looking back I wish we kept it on."
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Comments: 7

I've always interpreted this song to be about having some innane popular radio ballad stuck your head from hearing it on the radio so often, while at the same time someone near and dear to you is in great need of your attention. I stopped listening to the radio a long time ago, partly for that reason. I think we've all experienced this at one point where you keep hearing a dumb song in you head that you've heard on radio and can't get it out. It can be a major distraction.Anthony - Niles, Oh
I thought this song was sang by superbusKyle - George Town, Cayman Islands
This goes out to chris Labenne who claims rap music sucks. yet likes the song, for what reason? not for the message it conveys but for the cool sounds. He knows very little about the genre he criticized as a whole.Craig - Calgary, Ab
People don't want to recognize the truth. Children are growing up in a mental prison. It
is provided by the government to control there awareness input.
Ryan - Los Angeles, Ca
Jet has a song with this exact name.Angelica - Charlotte, Nc
I personally think it's a very cool song. I like the bass, and the lyrics are great. I don't think too much stuff opn the radio is very good these days either, considering that it's all rap and stuff, and I think rap music sucks.Chris Labenne - Niles, Oh
An odd song that really never got much recognitionEpp - Pittsburgh, Pa
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