All My Favorite Songs #5: So. Central Rain
But the gentler "So. Central Rain" steadily ingratiated itself over the years, to the point where it's become not just my favorite R.E.M. song, but one of the central songs in my life. Peter Buck's gentle jangle makes my spine tingle, and it's just a relentlessly pretty song, insisting you croon along to the chorus's plaintive "I'm sorry" cry.
And while Michael Stipe was still in his mumbling phase, many lyrics indecipherable (and to this date I still sing the incorrect lyrics I imagined at the time rather than the "right" lyrics later revealed by online lyrics pages), the opening line here was relatively clear and attention-grabbing. "Did you never call? I waited for your call as rivers of suggestion were driving me away." The rest of the song diverges off into the usual Stipe cryptic (and often indecipherable) imagery, but the opening is pure gut-wrenching break-up song (with a "Mr. Brightside"-like poetic spin on imagination-enriched jealousy).