Song Therapy: R.E.M. get bummed out and beautiful in ‘New Orleans’

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“New Orleans Instrumental” R.E.M.
Maybe this isn’t the most appropriate epitaph for the recently broken up band, who was known so much for their pioneering poetic lyrics. But there is something so piercingly lonely about the instruments in this instrumental song that it could almost serve as a soundtrack to the band’s funeral procession. On their album, “Automatic for the People,” it comes right after “Everybody Hurts,” one of their most universal songs of sadness. With this one though, they say what words can’t say with a Rhodes piano, bongo and pedal steel guitar. And as true R.E.M. fans must feel, their end was too soon, this song, at only a little more than two minutes, also leaves the listener wanting a lot more. Its use in the beautiful and unique Kurt Cobain biopic, “About a Son” and its cover versions by Figurines, Jana Hunter are simply cement the song’s long overlooked importance.


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