Living Well is the best revenge

A lil piece on R.E.M.'s Accelerate liner notes ....

After becoming comfortable with placing his lyrics in the liner notes of the last few R.E.M. albums, Micheal Stipe appears to have taken another step and added some quotes before the lyrics of three songs.

Living Well is the best revenge

"Living Well is the best Revenge - george herbet (1593 - 1633)  who was an english clergyman and metaphysical poet"

Supernatural Superserious

"My brain is the key that sets me free" - harry houdini, 1874 - 1926"

Until the Day is Done

"When Facism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag amd carry the cross. - Sinclair Lewis"

"thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams. thanks for the american dream to vulgarize and falsify until the vare lies shine through -- willaim s. burroughs"

The Sinclair Lewis quote suggests a reference to the then US President George Bush and his public reliance on the Bible and that belies that he is the fascist bringing his extreme (un) socially bent right wing views to America. Sinclair Lewis was an American novelist known for his satire of commercial culture. Put together, and coupled with knowlege REMs anit bush campaigning at the elections, Until The Day is done becomes a rather biting piece of commentary.

The last quote and the most appealing one to me, quote is Burrough's 'Thanks Giving Prayer' which is a cynical, hyperbolic bitch about things/crimes/tragedies that have befallen America.

See "thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces" and "thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcass to rot". Its pretty scathing.

Stipe uses the quote to preface 'Until the day is done'. It can easily be read into this song as an another Stipe indictment of both the American Presidents that were named Bush. He's bascially counting down the days - when Bush is gone and all he represents is gone, the day will be done.

Its no suprise really that REM quoted Burroughs as he did a 'cover' of Star Me Kitten (originally from Automatic People, Burrough's version on the X Files sound track) where he spoke the lyrics over the original - he infamous changed the lyric back to what Stipe intended the song to say so when he sang Fuck Me Kitten, he really meant it.

As to the reference to Living Well being the best revenge? Well, that should be self explanatory right?

Check out R.E.M's Collapse Into Now Lyrics

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