Famed former frontman of alternative rock band R.E.M., Michael Stipe, has just released his second solo single “Drive to the Ocean” with accompanied music video last Friday, January 3rd. Stipe, 60 whom recently celebrated a birthday on January 4th, previously released his first ever solo single “Your Capricious Soul” late last year. According to Pitchfork, “Proceeds from sales of ‘Drive to the Ocean’ benefit Pathway to Paris, which advocates for cities to sign on to the Paris Agreement, for one year. The song is available on Stipe’s website.” Stipe announced the release of “Drive to the Ocean” via video message on Twitter.
Michael’s new single “Drive to the Ocean” is available exclusively on https://t.co/RPUnPd7wy3. For 365 days, all his proceeds from the download will go to @Pathway2Paris. The exclusive bundle includes audio, video and extras. Watch the music video at: https://t.co/kyT9NR5OxR pic.twitter.com/Yk00mCRsBI
— R.E.M. HQ (@remhq) January 4, 2020
Stipe shot the video for “Drive to the Ocean” himself, using a beaming yellow filter that pervasively illuminates the video in its entirety. The murky yellow-tinged music video opens with a woman peering out to an ocean horizon on a beach. Accompanied by another woman and a young girl, all three stare out in the distance with a certain distressed and uncertain look on their faces. The lyrics for the song suggests self destruction that can be interpreted as witnessing the end of days, possibly attributing to climate change. The song opens with lines like “I’ll drive through the mountains, the crumbling West/I’ll sing like the whales before man was a pest.” The song’s equally melancholy tone is matched with the electronic textures of the track’s piercing keys and slow muted metronome beat playing in the background. Stipe’s calm, soothing vocals also add emotional depth to the severity of the song’s all encompassing message.
As previously reported in the aforementioned Pitchfork article, Stipe is no stranger in advocating for action in response to climate change. Stipe’s first single also spoke out against paralleling themes that mirror his latest solo outing, “The former R.E.M. frontman shared his first solo track, ‘Your Capricious Soul,’ in October. Proceeds from that track went to Extinction Rebellion, another climate-focused activist organization.” Teasing solo material might suggest that Stipe has a project in the works. Before the mutual disbandment of R.E.M. back in 2011, R.E.M.’s fifteenth and final full length studio album Collapse Into Now was released March of that year, via Warner Bros..
To listen to “Drive to the Ocean” stream below, via YouTube.
Photo credit: Alyssa Fried