R.E.M.

The One I Love

Song Review by

"The One I Love" was quite literally the song that paved the way for R.E.M.'s overdue breakthrough in 1987; when it hit Top 20, college radio/ alternative rock had officially joined the mainstream. As the first single from the album Document, Michael Stipe told Musician magazine in January of 1988 that the song was "incredibly violent." "It's very clear that it's about using people over and over again," he said. The chorus consisted of one simple word, "fire," repeated; fire was part of a larger theme on the album which referred consistently to the various symbolic aspects of the element. The "spark" in the song was a nice cue for its video makers to feature flames in the clip (fire was a very popular dramatic device in the still nascent rock video medium). An acoustic version of the song retained the melodic bass line and jangling guitar but had a more melancholic bent; it was released as the B-side to the 12" single.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Document 1987 EMI-Capitol Entertainment Prop. / Capitol 3:17
Eponymous 1988 I.R.S. Records / International Music 3:16
Green 1988 Warner Bros. 0:00
Pop Screen [Video/DVD] 1990 Warner Bros.
Rock the First, Vol. 2 1992
Various Artists
Sandstone 3:16
On the Charts: I.R.S. Records 1979-1994 1994
Various Artists
EMI-Capitol Special Markets 3:16
R.E.M. Singles Collected 1994 Import 3:17
The Best of R.E.M. 1998 EMI Music Distribution 3:17
Retro 80's, Vol. 1 1998
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:17
Abrocken 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:16
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1987 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:19
Modern Rock: Love Songs 2001
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:18
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:19
Oldies But Goodies: Real 80's New Wave, Vol. 1 2003
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:15
Dad Rocks! [Virgin UK 2005] 2005
Various Artists
Virgin 3:15
Pure Acoustic [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
And I Feel Fine...: The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 2006 Capitol / EMI Records 3:17
Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 2011 Warner Bros. 3:17
Complete Rarities I.R.S. 1982-1987 2014 Capitol / EMI 4:07
Complete Rarities Warner Bros. 1988-2011 2014 Concord / Universal 3:24
Now That's What I Call New Wave 80s 2015
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music 3:14
All the Way To the End 2018 Golden Rain 3:41
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 3:16
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 3:16
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 3:16
The Best Rock Anthems ...Ever!
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:16