In October 1992, R.E.M. released “Drive”, the lead single from their “Automatic for the People” album. It has no chorus, to speak of, and I remember reading a review of it at the time, which commented on how unusual this was for a hit single.
That always struck me as a bit of a broad statement. What about Squeeze’s “Up the Junction”? Or Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”? Or Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”,? “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang, even? There’s probably loads more I could come up with if I really thought about it.
Perhaps the reason this review grated was that a few months earlier, a controversial album was released which contained a gorgeous song, also devoid of a chorus. Granted, it wasn’t released as a single, but still…
The album was Morrissey’s “Your Arsenal” and I’ll talk about why it was controversial some other time.
The song was this, to my mind one of the finest songs he’s released since The Smiths split. It’s lilting, it’s absolutely beautiful, it’s not exactly cheerful, it’s perfect for posting here: