There is that distinctive drum roll again, with the cynical lead-in by Michael Stipe: “That’s great! It starts with an earthquake.”
According to New Music Express, "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," the 1987 hit by R.E.M., has re-entered the Top 100 on the American iTunes music charts as fears spread almost as quickly as reports of new cases of the coronavirus.
And we’re not feeling fine.
Stipe, the band’s frontman, delivered stream-of-consciousness lyrics in the four-minute song, expressing his concern over world-changing events 33 years ago. He references natural disasters, low-flying planes, fear of heights and continental drift divide.
Stipe also references several celebrities and politicians of the era, including Leonid Brezhnev, Leonard Bernstein, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
The song is now at No. 65 on the music charts, ahead of Lizzo ("Good is Hell"), Sam Smith ("To Die For") and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper ("Shallow"), according to New Music Express.
The pessimism felt by Americans is probably summed up in Stipe’s lyrics:
"Uh oh, this means no fear; cavalier.
“Renegade and steer clear!
"A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies.
“Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives. And I decline.”