This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #361: Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.
Some songs are judged by the number of records sold. Some songs are judged based on what position on a Top #40 chart the song managed to attain. Then, you have a song like, “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M., which is judged, most importantly, by the number of lives this song has saved.
Of all the things that we, as humans, do over the course of our lives, none matters more than the ability we possess to uplift those around us and make their lives better. “Everybody Hurts” is a song that came from R.E.M.’s 1992 album, “Automatic For the People”. It is a song about suicide. More to the point, it is a song that speaks to suicide prevention and, as such, has been used in various media campaigns regarding mental health and suicide prevention, since its release. You don’t have to look very hard to find YouTube comments, social media commentary or letters posted on R.E.M. fan websites that speak to the lives of people who felt lost (to the point of wanting to end their lives) but who found Hope, by way of the lyrics to this song.
The members of R.E.M., being honest, reject the claim that they deserve any special recognition for creating, “Everybody Hurts”. They all say that it was a time in their own lives when things were changing and it was becoming more difficult, personally and professionally, to hang onto the joy and the good times that characterized the first half of their career. Fame and parenthood and middle age and all the pressures and changes that come with that, are things that most people feel and, as such, the band thought that the idea for such a song was one that potentially had universal appeal. And while I can relate to the core message of having to bear the crosses of responsibility that come with adulthood, I am fortunate to have never felt so overwhelmed and filled with despair that I thought suicide was ever an option for alleviating my pain. But, some people do feel that way. For them, the words from a song that reassures them that they are not alone and that things will get better if they just hold on a little longer is, as it turns out, a message that has saved lives.
The band received lots of praise for the “official” video they released that accompanied the song. The idea of everyone being stuck in a massive traffic jam is meant to symbolize everyone being stuck with the ups and downs of surviving everyday life. There is, also, an orchestral feel to “Everybody Hurts” that gives it a grander, more noble air. Whatever the reason is that you may be drawn to this song, I hope that seeing this video brings you a sense of peace and of calm that you may need to better navigate your way through this day.
You are not alone. I am here.
So is R.E.M., with “Everybody Hurts”.
Have a wonderful day, all!
The link to the music video for “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M., can be found here.
The link to the official website for R.E.M., can be found here.
***IF YOU ARE FEELING DISTRESSED AND COULD USE SOMEONE TO TALK TO ABOUT LIFE…..the voices at the other end of this link may help. You are not alone. Click on the link here for help.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for supporting important music that brings light to the darkest corners of our lives. A link to their official website can be found here.