The Final Straw

By liz

In what might be the first good anti-war song released since the latest Gulf incursion, R.E.M. has stepped onto the playing field by making a rough studio mix of their new song "The Final Straw" available on their website. The song, which is set to appear on the forthcoming 2004 R.E.M. album, clearly expresses disdain for the US government's current war in Iraq.

A note on the site expresses Michael Stipe's desire to release the song prior to the album completion. "This is the strongest voice I could think of to send out there. We had to send something out there now. We are praying and hoping for the lives of all people involved, the troops, the Iraqi civilians, refugees, pow's, families of troops, the innocents-- that they are safe and okay. Safe home, all."

As I raise my head to broadcast my objection
As your latest triumph draws the final straw
Who died and lifted you up to perfection?
And what silenced me is written into law.

I can't believe where circumstance has thrown me
And I turn my head away
If I look I'm not sure that I could face you.
Not again. Not today. Not today.

If hatred makes a play on me tomorrow
And forgiveness takes a back seat to revenge
There's a hurt down deep that has not been corrected
There's a voice in me that says you will not win.

And if I ignore the voice inside,
Raise a half glass to my home.
But it's there that I am most afraid,
And forgetting doesn't hold.

It doesn't hold. Now I don't believe and I never did
That two wrongs make a right.
If the world were filled with the likes of you
Then I'm putting up a fight. Putting up a fight.
Putting up a fight. Make it right. Make it right.

Now love cannot be called into question.
Forgiveness is the only hope I hold.
And love-- love will be my strongest weapon.
I do believe that I am not alone.

For this fear will not destroy me.
And the tears that have been shed
It's knowing now where I am weakest
And the voice in my head. In my head.

Then I raise my voice up higher
And I look you in the eye
And I offer love with one condition.
With conviction, tell me why.
Tell me why.
Tell me why.
Look me in the eye.
Tell me why.

(p) 2003 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C.
Buck, Mills, Stipe ©2003 Temporary Music (BMI)
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