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Pop Song '89 by R.E.M.

Album: GreenReleased: 1988Charted:
  • This was written as a play on the Doors song "Hello, I Love You." Instead of talking to a girl about sex, it's about the weather or politics.
  • R.E.M. played an early version on their Document tour before this was released. It didn't even have words then, but the band had a lot of trouble keeping themselves from laughing because they had so much fun with it.
  • The video was directed by lead singer Michael Stipe. It features him and three women all dancing topless as a way to satirize videos that objectify women. When MTV asked for a censored version, Stipe superimposed black bars over the chests of all four dancers. He said, "A nipple is a nipple."
  • This was REM's 89th recorded track, if you count mini-album "Chronic Town" and B-sides. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Michael - New York, NY
  • Michael Stipe said in the October 1992 issue of Q magazine: "It's a complete piss-take. I guess it's the prototype of, and hopefully the end of, a pop song. It would be the last pop song ever."

    Stipe has described it as one of his "fruit loop songs" along with "Shiny Happy People" and "Stand."
  • Peter Buck remembers thinking this sounded like a Dream Syndicate song and calling up frontman Steve Wynn to make sure he didn't mind. Wynn gave the OK and agreed it did sound a bit like the group's Karl Precoda on guitar.
  • This was featured on the TV series Parks and Recreation in the 2014 episode "Prom."
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Comments: 7

Uh, Fred...correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the REM guys from Georgia, not NY?Karen - Manchester, Nh
OK, this is one of those crazy, totally off-the-wall hunches, but here goes. I'm not a New Yorker, but I know that in NYC, the public schools are numbered, and noticing what this song's title is in initials, I was wondering, does anyone in REM have a connection to PS89? Anyone in the Big Apple know anything about this? Or did the band single out this song for a numerical title just because its sequence number happened to match the year of its release as a single, and my hunch is all wet?Fred - Laurel, Md
It's not a parody of the Doors, it's a tribute to them, and is completely an R.E.M. original. Anyone who's ever heard "Hello, I Love You" could tell that. And no, it's not terrible, your taste in music is.Brad - Lexington, Ky
i have to say this is terrible i saw it was a parody of the doors and had to listen to it....and i did...and now i want to cut off my ears...Cody - Lititz, Pa
I always considered this song to be the band's social commentary about the state of pop music in 1989.Weather? Government?...Hi, Hi; is the best anyone could come up with. No one had the ability to write a pop song with meaning.David - Great Barrington, Ma
It was released as a single in 89 but green was released in 88Bones - New Plymouth, New Zealand
This song is about someone who really has no clue what to say to a girl. So instead of talking about passionate meaningful stuff, he makes small talk. Also, the 89 in the title is a double meaning- it's their 89th song and was released on the '89 alubum GreenEpp - Pittsburgh, Pa
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