Inspirational Songs: R.E.M.’s “I Believe”

In my previous post I was discussing my pursuit of employment, which has its unique challenges and while I largely kept it based on reason and logic, I felt I should punctuate it with something full of positive feeling.

One of the motivational songs that I use to pump myself up is R.E.M.‘s “I Believe,” taken from their magnificent LIFE’S RICH PAGEANT album. The entire LP is a beautiful collection of songs that balance personal struggles with spiritual fulfillment, restlessness, and an increasing concern for, and awareness of, the global community, all tempered with the rationalizing of idealism represented by maturity.

While I love it from start to finish, it’s “I Believe” that can instantly change my mood and bring a smile to my face.

From the banjo introduction, the song quickly awakens into a familiar early R.E.M. sound of arpeggio chords. The jarring switch is the musically incarnate change that Michael Stipe‘s lyrics convey belief in embracing, representing the vivaciousness stirring of the soul that powers the song.

Enjoy:

Lyrics:

When I was young and full of grace
and spirited–a rattlesnake.
When I was young and fever fell
My spirit, I will not tell
You’re on your honor not to tell

I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract
Explain the change, the difference between
What you want and what you need, there’s the key,
Your adventure for today, what do you do
Between the horns of the day?

I believe my shirt is wearing thin
And change is what I believe in

When I was young and give and take
And foolish said my fool awake
When I was young and fever fell
My spirit, I will not tell
You’re on your honor, on your honor

Trust in your calling, make sure your calling’s true
Think of others, the others think of you
Silly rule golden words make, practice, practice makes perfect,
Perfect is a fault, and fault lines change

I believe my humor’s wearing thin
And change is what I believe in

I believe my shirt is wearing thin
And change is what I believe in

When I was young and full of grace
As spirited a rattlesnake
When I was young and fever fell
My spirit, I will not tell
You’re on your honor, on your honor
I believe in example
I believe my throat hurts
Example is the checker to the key

I believe my humor’s wearing thin
And I believe the poles are shifting

I believe my shirt is wearing thin
And change is what I believe in

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