For a lot of bands, there’s one song that’s special because it’s the first one you heard on the radio and you thought Who’s that?! I don’t know if Can’t Get There From Here is my absolute favorite R.E.M. song; Man on the Moon has great surge-and-flow, Losing My Religion is the greatest car singalong ever. But anyhow, it’s a fine piece of work.
Side-note: The title of the song is inconsistent, sometimes appearing with the apostrophe, sometimes without.
This was in the early eighties, I had a long commute to work and at that point there was a Vancouver radio station that played interesting new stuff, and I heard a lot of later-famous bands there before most people did. Can’t Get There exploded out from between the other songs, somehow louder and brighter, even though I know pop music has its dynamic range compressed like hell so it always sounds loud.
I read in Wikipedia that Fables of the Reconstruction (Can’t Get There‘s album) was a pain to produce, was poorly reviewed, and didn’t sell that well, and R.E.M. remained cult-only for a few more years. People are crazy, I think almost every song is brilliant; in particular, Driver 8.
Links · Spotify playlist. This tune on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon. There’s quite a bit of live video, but this German show from when the song was brand-new, albeit with fuzzy video, is a remarkably good performance, a reminder how accomplished a band R.E.M. was, combining precision and Dionysian mania. A treat. Also, Michael Stipe has hair.