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Acid rain has inspired a surprising number of songs. You’ve got Bob Dylan’s classic “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” You’ve got Deee-Lite’s not-so-classic “I Had a Dream I Was Falling Through a Hole in the Ozone Layer.” And then you’ve got R.E.M.
In interviews, Michael Stipe takes pains to point out that “Fall on Me” widened its ambition as it developed. In fact: the original melody and acid rain lyrics only show up in the second verse’s backing lines:
There’s the progress we have found (when the rain)
A way to talk around the problem (when the children reign)
Building towered foresight (keep your conscience in the dark)
Isn’t anything at all (melt the statues in the park)