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The Word, The Truth

“The One I Love” by R.E.M. (1987)

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Finally, I have found an opportunity this Sunday to feature one of our most favorite bands in the 1980’s with its superb music and mysterious – and controversial lyrics – R.E.M. with their first hit song in 1987 The One I Love that has often been misinterpreted by many people as a straightforward love song when in fact it is the opposite.

According to lead vocal Michael Stipe, he was hesitant at first in recording this song because it is about people using people repeatedly for selfish gains, describing it as so “brutal” with a line that says “A simple prop to occupy my time” – of how a man uses the one he “loves” like a thing!

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love
Fire
Fire
This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Stipe explained that the song never referred to any actual person nor event except that the band simply played up its lyrics while on tour with just one word at its chorus which is “Fire”.

One can readily find that it is not a love song at all by watching its music video that is generally dark except for some scenes of blue skies with white clouds that featured empty apartments and sad-looking couples.

But such is the genius of these four men who got together to form R.E.M. while students at the University of Georgia in 1980 as one of the earliest alternative rock bands who’s other major hit is called “Losing My Religion” – another song that one must not take literally as anti religion. But, that is another story we are reserving in the future.

We chose R.E.M.’s The One I Love because of its direct relationship with our Sunday gospel, especially at that part in the end when Jesus summoned the Twelve to himself to explain to them the basis of their relationships after the ten became indignant with the brothers James and John’s request from him to be seated at his right and his left when he assumes his kingship as the Messiah or Christ.

“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:42-45

Here we find Jesus clearly telling us how our relationships must be based on love and respect, serving the lowest and weakest among us unlike the way of the world that is based on power and dominance where everyone tries to escape sufferings and persecutions (https://lordmychef.com/2021/10/16/the-things-we-wish-vs-things-we-pray-to-jesus/).

Love always calls for giving up of self, thinking always the good of the other person. Not using them as props.

*We have no intentions of infringing into the copyrights of this music and its uploader except to share its beauty and listening pleasure.

 

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Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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