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Orwell’s Animal Farm and “Disturbance at the Heron House”

1987’s “Document” feels especially applicable to America in 2017, Annie Zaleski

On Jan. 20, Paste ran a clever article titled “An Inaugural Day Message via the Words of R.E.M.” The piece creates a narrative about politics and life by jumbling together and rearranging phrases culled from the Athens, Georgia, band’s song lyrics. Workload-wise, the 2400-word piece is impressive; mixing and matching sentiments from a 30-plus-year career certainly isn’t easy….

The last record R.E.M. released via I.R.S. Records — and the first LP the band recorded with producer Scott Litt — “Document” addresses the corrupting nature of money; political witch hunts concerning free speech; circumstances that are both bewildering and unprecedented; and economic and employment oppression. Appropriately, the record’s music is glinting and electrified, and nods to post-punk, folk, funk and fiery rock ‘n’ roll….

In 2003, Stipe admitted that “Disturbance at the Heron House” is his “take” on George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”…

“That song is so fucking political, and it’s so appropriate to what’s going on right now,” he told Filter. “Like, the kind of arrogance that some of the policy makers and world leaders are carrying with them right now is, I think, reflective of the very worst of the United States. It’s that teenage arrogance, as a young country, the know-it-all-kind of thing. That makes me crazy.”

R.E.M. – Disturbance At The Heron House (see also here)

[Verse 1]
They’re going wild, the call came in
At early morning predawn then
The followers of chaos, out of control
They’re numbering the monkeys
The monkeys and the monkeys
The followers of chaos, out of control

[Chorus]
The call came in to party central
A meeting of the green and simple
Trying to tell us something we don’t know

[Verse 2]
They’re meeting at the monument
The call came in, the monument
To liberty and honor under the honor roll
They’ve gathered up the cages
The cages and courageous
The followers of chaos, out of control

[Chorus]

[Verse 3]
Disturbance at the Heron House
A stampede at the monument
To liberty and honor under the honor roll
Just a gathering of the grunts and greens
The cogs and grunts and hirelings
A meeting of a mean idea to hold

[Outro]
When feeding time has come and gone
They’ll lose their heart and head for home
Try to tell us something we don’t know
We don’t know

Animal Farm, George Orwell

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