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“Can’t Get There from Here”

Posted by purplemary54 on August 18, 2014

I’m not really trying to get anywhere right now.  I just like this song.

One of the most interesting (and occasionally annoying) things about R.E.M. is their crypticism.  (Is that even a word?  No?  Well, it should be.)  I’ve always felt their lack of clarity was an intentional artistic choice (something that’s more or less confirmed on the Wikipedia page about them, but feel free to argue with me).  Michael Stipe’s lyrics were always very stream-of-consciousness, with a lack of specificity or linear narrative.  This works for the most part.  It can be a bit of a problem if they’re trying to get a specific political or social message across, but I find Stipe’s approach very poetic in a way.

R.E.M was always about tone, mood, and feeling.  The emotional, visceral response to their songs always seemed more important than any intelligent or critical  interpretation.  “Can’t Get There from Here” is urgent, dynamic, kind of twitchy.  I always get an image in my head of someone running down a hall whenever I hear this song.  There’s nothing in it about hallways; that’s just what I see.  Of course, whoever directed the video had a good time matching random images up to the random lyrics.  It feels like a spoof of a standard-issue music video, but it’s hard to tell.  It is fun to watch the band members overact at the imaginary drive-in.

Actually, this video kind of makes me miss drive-in theaters a little bit.  They’re pretty much extinct now, which is really too bad.  All this bluetooth and wireless technology would really make for a fun experience.  Hmm. . . . If I had a million dollars . . . .


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