Greatest Songs Ever Written: R.E.M.


rem-vintageBruce Springsteen advised us “this town rips the bones from your back, it’s a death trap”, “we gotta get out while we’re young, tramps like us, baby we born to run”.   Great advice from the Boss, but what happens after you leave home?   Sometimes your new life isn’t as perfect as you dreamed.   You get sentimental and romanticize your hometown.    Would life be different if you went back home?



R.E.M._-_(Don't_Go_Back_to)_RockvilleR.E.M’s beloved classic, “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”, addresses those concerns.   The true inspiration of the song relates to the band’s early days at college in Athens, Georgia.    Mike Mills’ girlfriend at the time, Ingrid Shorr, was debating whether to leave Athens and go back home to her parents.   The song was Mill’s plea to keep Ingrid in Athens.   Regardless of the song’s origin, many R.E.M. fans have found inspiration in the lyrics to continue following your dream and not going back to your past.



Looking at your watch a third time
Waiting in the station for a bus
Going to a place that’s far, so far away
And if that’s not enough
Going where nobody says hello
They don’t talk to anybody they don’t know
You’ll wind up in some factory

That’s full time filth and nowhere left to go
Walk home to an empty house, sit around all by yourself
I know it might sound strange, but I believe
You’ll be coming back before too long

Don’t go back to Rockville and waste another year

At night I drink myself to sleep and pretend
I don’t care if you’re not here with me
‘Cause it’s so much easier to handle
All my problems if I’m too far out to sea
But something better happen soon
Or it’s gonna be too late to bring you back

It’s not as though I really need you
If you were here I’d only bleed you
But everybody else in town only wants to bring you down
And that’s not how it ought to be
I know it might sound strange, but I believe
You’ll be coming back before too long