Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 107
Wed. April 25, 2012

“We All Go Back to Where We Belong”

“♫ I will write our story in my mind/ write about our dreams and triumphs this might be my “innocence lost”/ I can taste the ocean on your skin/ that is where it all began […] ♫”

I have to admit, at first—I did not fully appreciate the magic of R.E.M’s final single— “We All Go Back to Where We Belong.” I like to think I was in denial about this being the last ever song from R.E.M. But then I saw Michael Stipe’s Warhol-esque black and white video starring Kirsten Dunst and it made me listen again and again. Then I got it. This is a touching tribute and a fitting finale for one of the bands that has influenced my life most.

I urge you to watch the expressions on Kirsten’s face throughout the video, confused to what is she reacting to? Dunst told Chris Tinkham for Under The Radar magazine—
Michael Stipe is my neighbor in New York. I’ve known him throughout the years, and he just casually asked me to be in his video. I didn’t even know it was supposed to be their last video. And I was like, ‘Yeah, of course.’ He wanted to do it in the vein of an Andy Warhol screen test, and I sat there. We did three different takes, but the one take he used; he sang [“We All Go Back to Where We Belong”] a cappella to me. So, if I look embarrassed and giggling, it’s because I’m so overwhelmed that he’s singing to me. It was really special.

I would have loved to have filmed my version of the video. It would start off with Kirsten knocking on Stipe’s door; he opens it. “You got my message?” Michael says hugging her. Stipe grabs her hand as he leads Dunst through all the people at the party in his apartment. He walks her to the kitchen and tells her—“Here’s our last song and I want you to hear it.”

Cut to a wide long angel shot that looks like Stipe is just talking to Dunst at his party—leaning against the wall smiling. That’s when the backing music starts. Michael looks at Kirsten as he leans in and begins whispering the lyrics, like he’s telling her a secret; we see his lips mouth the words and also witness her reaction as the music plays. And that’s the video all shot in a NYC apartment guerilla iPad/camera phone video style. What do you think?

Maybe I should just leave it to the experts- here’s Michael Stipe’s directing the Kirsten version, enjoy!