“I Believe” – REM
REM was one of those bands that was special for me when 15-16: still kind of a ‘secret’ because radio and MTV hadn’t really discovered them, thus most of the popular kids hadn’t either. Lifes Rich Pagaent was their first really mainstream sounding record, the first one that I could get my non-record nerd friends to listen to and admit that these guys were really a rock and roll band. “I Believe” was, and still is, my favorite track off that record. Kicking off with a little lo-fi banjo lick, it soon leaps into signature REM territory: rollicking Byrds-jangle with Stipe’s pastiche lyrics. And such great lyrics: “I believe in coyotes / and time as an abstract / exchange the change the difference between / what you want and what you need / there’s the key … and change / is what I believe in.” Up to that time, probably his best work.