“Strange Currencies” is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs. It has been a muse to poetry, and other writings of mine; playing as soundtrack to characters and emotions set to words on a page (or blank screen). I know I’m in the somewhat musical minority who favors later R.E.M. to their earlier work. But, I connected more in the 90’s to their music and albums. Those collections of tracks hit me harder in my twenties, fitting into my life, changes, and challenges in that decade. Though I’ve gone on to delve and delight in their first albums, it will always be 90’s R.E.M. that remain in my “favorite” lists, and that hit me in that emotional punch to the heart kind of way. “Strange Currencies” is in that emotional punch to the heart place, and lands its swing every time I hear it.
The album Monster came into my life while I was working at Tower Records. I can remember it playing in the before-hours mornings when we were counting down drawers, stocking shelves, and readying ourselves for the day. “Strange Currencies”, along with “Crush with Eyeliner” were always my favorites.
I heard this track today when I hit play on an old playlist and it reminded me, once again, of how much I love the song.
“Strange Currencies” by R.E.M.
from the album, Monster (1994)
Song of the Day
“Now fool might be my middle name,
but I’d be foolish not to say.
I’m going to make whatever it takes,
ring you up,
call you down,
sign your name
make it rhyme,
take you in and make you mine.”
Though there has always been something slightly sinister in the chorus (and one could argue, underlying the entire song), the feeling of “you will be mine” feels different sometimes. I think that there are moments where it comes across as passionate instead of sinister – or maybe that’s just subjective to how I’m feeling.
I am feeling very passionate lately. Falling in love with the person you are meant to be with will do that to you.
When you know you know. I believe that, just as I believe in us. I remember exactly when I knew for sure, and though to some people it may seem naive, and foolish, how quickly we knew, how fast we acted to be together, and what big steps we made together, I know, without a doubt, that it was right. I know, without a doubt, that we are right.
“Strange Currencies” (live) by R.E.M.