R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” Is Charting Again

Mike Wass | March 14, 2020 3:18 pm

First released in 1987 as the second single from Document, R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” peaked at number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100. Since then, however, the song has taken on a life of its own — displaying more longevity than most chart-topping hits. In fact, the stream-of-consciousness toe-tapper gets another surge of popularity every time the shit hits the fan. “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” experienced a revival in 1999 due to the Y2K scare and then again in 2012 (when the Mayans predicted the world would end).

It should come as little surprise that Michael Stipe & Co.’s enduring bop is enjoying another resurgence in the age of coronavirus. So much so that “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” is now top 70 on US iTunes and climbing. I think we’re found 2020’s new/old theme song! So, what’s the appeal? Well, the song perfectly captures the cloud of impending doom hovering over the nation without being a downer. “Six o’clock, TV hour, don’t get caught in a foreign tower,” R.E.M. advises on a verse. “Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn.” That leads us to the iconic chorus: “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.”

Revisit R.E.M.’s pre-apocalypse classic below.

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