Talk About the Passion

Album: Murmur (1983)
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Songfacts®:

  • This was the second single from R.E.M.'s debut album, Murmur.
  • The guitar melody/solo actually comes from multiple acoustic guitars played by Mike Mills, Peter Buck, and producers Mitch Easter and Don Dixon.
  • Michael Stipe explained the song's French influence in the compilation Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011: "I had taken a French course at college, which I dutifully flunked out of, and Linda Hopper and I thought that the phrase, 'combien de temps,' that is, roughly, 'how much time?' was deeply meaningful and beautiful. I did sing it that way and it works here, if only here. We were 22 at the time after all." Hopper, a fellow musician and University of Georgia student, also founded the band Oh-Ok with Stipe's sister, Lynda, on bass guitar.
  • The 1988 video, directed by Jem A. Cohen, expounds on the lyrics' references to hunger ("empty bread, empty mouths") by juxtaposing images of homeless people with a multi-million dollar warship.

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