Michael Stipe - Drive To The Ocean

Song of the Day
Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by KEXP DJs John Richards, Cheryl Waters, and Kevin Cole, in honor of International Clash Day's Clash for Climate, is “Drive To The Ocean” by Michael Stipe, a 2020 self-released single.
photo by michael stipe
written by Janice Headley

This week, KEXP is featuring songs written in response to the climate crisis, as selected by DJs John Richards, Cheryl Waters, and Kevin Cole. Tune in this Friday, February 7th as KEXP celebrates International Clash Day; what began as a tribute to The Clash’s music and legacy has evolved into a banner celebration of the issues and message they stood for. The Clash were unapologetically confrontational and champions of the oppressed, always striving for the possibility of a better world. That’s why in 2020 we’re using the holiday to Clash For Climate. More information here


I'll drive through the mountains
The crumbling west
I'll sing like the whales
Before man was a pest

After alt-rock giants R.E.M. broke up in 2011, frontman Michael Stipe retreated into the art world, focusing on his photography. But, as he explained in his January 30th appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, he was inspired to return to music by the environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion. He had a batch of songs he had been secretly writing and sitting on, and to support their efforts in urging the government to take action for climate change, Stipe released his first new music in 8 years with the single “Your Capricious Soul,” donating proceeds from the track to their organization.  

The fight for climate action continued to influence his music releases, and on January 4th, Stipe's 60th birthday, he shared a second single — today's Song of the Day “Drive to the Ocean.” All proceeds from this track are being donated to Pathway to Paris, a climate change advocacy group founded by Patti Smith's daughter Jesse Paris Smith and cellist Rebecca Foon. Their mission is to turn "the Paris Agreement into reality through finding and offering innovative and ambitious solutions for combating global climate change."

Both songs are available on Stipe's website for a minimum donation of 77¢, but there's an option to donate more. "I am so happy to collaborate with Pathway to Paris for this year 2020," he said via a statement. "The work that they are doing is vital and foundational — it is essential for a future that we can and will claim as our own."

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