Ten Favorite Soldier Songs: Orange Crush (#6)

@FourWalls (16292)
United States
July 8, 2017 11:47am CST
In honor of the Independence Day celebration this week @TRBRocks420 began listing his favorite "America"/patriotic songs. It inspired me to list my ten favorite songs about soldiers. Here's the next song on the list...yet another Vietnam song. #6: Orange Crush - R.E.M. A couple of days ago, when I was discussing "Fortunate Son," I mentioned Agent Orange and how that subject was for another song. Well, here's the song. Here R.E.M. takes the approach of the arrogance of the American politicians and superimposes it onto the soldiers: "we are agents of the free, I've had my fun and now it's time to serve your conscience overseas." One of the really cool things about R.E.M. is the fact that not all of the "action" comes from lead singer Michael Stipe. I remember an interview where he referred to bassist Mike Mills as "second lead vocalist," and that's quite evident here. A lot of the message in this song is barely audible, in the background, talking about the horror of war and the longstanding after-effects of Agent Orange (which, for decades, the U.S. government refused to acknowledge was causing cancers and respiratory issues). The "facade," the "brave front," is what Stipe sings ("I've got my spine" [I'm brave], "I've got my Orange crush" [Agent Orange, not the soft drink, to destroy the jungle foliage so the enemy couldn't hide]). It's Mills in the background, voicing the uncertainty: "follow me, don't follow me." There are a lot of sins about the Vietnam War that have not yet been repented of. One is how the anti-war protestors treated the returning soldiers. Another, more significant, sin is how the government who sent the soldiers there treated them. Orange Crush Written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe Recorded by R.E.M. From Green, 1988 Comin' in fast over me:
9 people like this
10 responses
• United States
8 Jul 17
What an excellent song this is FourWalls. I remember it well. Yes it was horrifying for the returning Nam Vets and in many ways still is.
4 people like this
@RasmaSandra (21172)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
8 Jul 17
This was interesting. I hadn't heard this before.
2 people like this
@snowy22315 (56158)
• United States
8 Jul 17
That sounds like a great song. Very apropos in many ways to today's troubled times.
2 people like this
@teamfreak16 (42520)
• Denver, Colorado
8 Jul 17
What a great song. I mean, did these guys ever release anything that was bad? I think not.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (16292)
• United States
8 Jul 17
Well, "Shiny Happy People," but if you consider it a tongue-in-cheek look at pop music, it's actually quite brilliant.
1 person likes this
@mawdest (1507)
• Orillia, Ontario
9 Jul 17
LOVE R.E.M. and this song is really something! Excellent post, thanks for sharing!
1 person likes this
@dgobucks226 (14799)
8 Jul 17
Enjoyed your interpretation of the lyrics. Great summary!! Now there is an 80's band I really liked
1 person likes this
@TRBRocks420 (85995)
• Banks, Oregon
8 Jul 17
One of my favorite R.E.M songs.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (67275)
• Los Angeles, California
8 Jul 17
You mean this wasn't a series about soda pop songs? Outstanding choice from a great band.
1 person likes this
@Saroj13 (80)
8 Jul 17
Its great. Have a great time ahead.
1 person likes this
@Tracy04 (10815)
• Malaysia
10 Jul 17
That was a nice song