“Stand” by REM is the dumbest song I’ve ever written about here. (But there’s actual musicological stuff if you scroll down this page.)
Who wants to learn the dance? Maybe Lego dancers will help you learn the moves.
The thing is, I like the song and Michael Stipe is on the record as intentionally challenging his bandmates to write a dumb, bubblegum song, you know like “Yummy Yummy Yummy (I Got Love in My Tummy)” or the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar.”
Seems like if he wanted to write bubblegum pop, he should have written about food. Oh wait, Weird Al helped them with that:
The proof of a great pop record is whether Alvin and the Chipmunks do a cover and it looks like Berry, Buck, Mills & Stipe succeeded:
So about the composition of this song, guitarist Peter Buck said:
He also intentionally used what he thought of as the overused wah-wah pedal to add to the stupidity of the song.
(Before we get too far down this rabbit hole, we should point out that the lyrics are about being more aware of your surroundings and your life and are not all that different from “Once in a Lifetime” ["You may find yourself..."]. So lyrically, not so dumb. Musically, goofily so.)
And perhaps the ultimate tribute to stupid pop songs is to be used as the theme song to a television show about a stupid person (Chris Elliott’s “Get a Life”):
Wait, this is becoming as inane as the song itself. Surely we can find something musically interesting to discuss here?
Yep. And it’s called the truck driver’s gear change.
What I’m talking about here is the end of the song, when the chorus repeats and goes up two half tones. And then does it again. There’s a funny website that discusses what this is in a sarcastic manner:
I love this website. I can’t remember when I first found it, but the comments on the songs are very funny and you can waste many minutes/hours/days here.
From the commentary about “Stand“:
I, as you’ve seen, subscribe to the theory that R.E.M. does the gear change intentionally to conform to the standards of pure pop. What do you think? Comments welcome.