Pearl Jam and R.E.M

If I had to guess as to which theory of international relations the lead singers of two of my favorite bands, Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) would subscribe, I’d say radicalism, and radicalism, respectively. Here’s a version of what can only be characterized correctly as a protest song, Begin the Begin, from one of R.E.M.’s earliest albums. The lyrics are below. There’s certainly no compromise in this song; they argue, like all radicals, for radical systemic change; if you don’t like the system, “begin the begin.”

(chorus)
Birdie in the hand for life’s rich demand
The insurgency began and you missed it
I looked for it and I found it
Myles Standish proud, congratulate me

A philanderer’s tie, a murderer’s shoe

Life’s rich demand creates supply in the hand
Of the powers, the only vote that matters
Silence means security silence means approval

On Zenith, on the TV, tiger run around the tree
Follow the leader, run and turn into butter

Let’s begin again, begin the begin
Let’s begin again like Martin Luther zen
The mythology begins the begin
Answer me a question I can’t itemize
I can’t think clear, you look to me for reason
It’s not there, I can’t even rhyme here in the begin

A philanderer’s tie, a murderer’s shoe
Example: the finest example is you

(repeat chorus)

A philanderer’s tie, a murderer’s shoe
Let’s begin again, begin the begin
Let’s begin again

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