from the album Out Of Time (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #10 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11
Today's song of the day comes from the alternative rock gods from Athens, Georgia, R.E.M., who landed the biggest hit of their career in America with the epic "Losing My Religion", which reached the top five on the pop chart in the summer of 1991. The band then promoted the jangle-pop album cut "Texarkana" to rock radio, which was written mostly and sung by bassist Mike Mills. It reached the top ten on both the Mainstream Rock (#7) and Modern Rock (#4) charts in Billboard magazine. As "Losing My Religion" was peaking on the pop Hot 100, the band released their second physical single from the album, "Shiny Happy People". Like the big hit from their last album Green, "Stand", the song was a bright and mindless hippie anthem on the surface but hidden in the lyrics is just enough snark to rattle the cage a bit. Featured on the record was another Athens rock legend, Kate Pierson of the B-52's, whose harmony with lead singer Michael Stipe and Mike Mills (who both wrote the song with the bandmates Peter Buck and Bill Berry) really made the finished product absolutely addictive and sing-along worthy. The music video, which featured local friends of the band, felt like a hometown theater-nerd party you really wanted to be at...
"Shiny Happy People" became R.E.M.'s fourth and final (so-far) top ten pop hit in the U.S. in September of 1991. The song spent one week at #3 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, and hit #8 on their Mainstream Rock radio tally. It even stopped by their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") format chart for one week, reaching #48. Internationally, while it was their last top ten pop hit in America, it was just the first of so far eleven top ten hits in the UK, getting to #6. The single also reached the top ten in Ireland (#2), Canada (#5), Germany (#10), and France (#10).
Ironically, the third single from the Out Of Time record, "Radio Song", missed the American pop chart entirely, although it reached #43 on the Modern Rock list and did get to #28 in Britain. Finally, another song from the set sung by Mills, "Near Wild Heaven", was the fourth top-40 hit from the album in the UK at #27.
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