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The folky side of Out Of Time springs to mind on first listen, Buck leading the charge with a confidently strummed acoustic and sneaking in a finger-picked sub-melody that recalls Mason Williams’ big 1960s instrumental hit Classical Gas.
All three band members contribute to the instrumental bridge, played on a Korg monotron (listen and skip to 2:30 to hear it quite low in the mix).
The initial demo was recorded in New Orleans, and the band opted to do little to it when reconvening in Nashville a few months later, adding only Stipe’s vocal and understated brushed drums. Again, the singer’s lyrics defy coherent interpretation, even to those closest to the band.
"Michael had a lyrical idea that was so complex that I didn't understand what he was getting at, even after he explained it to me," producer Lee told The Huffington Post. "He has pages and pages of lyrics and ideas, with back stories for characters that don't figure in the song."