After all of these years, why do I now love this R.E.M. song so much?
Automatic for the People just celebrated it’s 25th anniversary and was reissued on vinyl. When listening back, track 5, New Orleans Instrumental No. 1, always grabs my attention.
Is it because it’s perfectly nestled between Everybody Hurts and Sweetness Follows?
The album was released in 1992 and I would have been buried in my grunge obsession at that point, spending most of my musical time with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and discovering all things Sub Pop. I remember the buzz surrounding this album but when you’re a teenager with limited CD funds, you go with what you know and R.E.M. for me was always something I could live with hearing on the radio or MTV.
Twenty five years later this album has resonated with me in new ways. I enjoy listening to it on a long drive. It’s a mellow album but it moves at a pace that doesn’t put me to sleep. New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 is near the middle of the album and prepares for you Sweetness Follows, another great song.
According to Diffuser.fm, Peter Buck wrote and recorded New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 in Daniel Lanois’ French Quarter studio late one night and they decided to keep it on the album.
Edgar Wright chose to include the song in his film, Baby Driver, which is an interesting choice to me. A song by R.E.M. can’t be an affordable, easy song to license the rights for and one would think if you’re going to go through the effort, at least pick a song where they sing, ha. Regardless, the scene worked great, but I still wonder how he came about choosing that song for the scene?
While I’m here, I can’t help but notice how much Lisa Loeb’s Stay sounds like R.E.M.’s last song on Automatic For The People, Find The River, ha! Judge for yourself: