Alt-rock pioneers R.E.M. and the team behind FX’s critically acclaimed, award-winning hit series, The Bear, have partnered to release a full-length music video for “Strange Currencies (Remix).” Available to view here, the visual combines footage from R.E.M.’s Road Movie (documenting their 1995 tour), plus exclusive clips and behind-the-scenes footage from The Bear’s second season, which premiered June 22 exclusively on Hulu. The remix, which first appeared on 2019’s Monster (25th Anniversary Edition), found the band’s longtime producer Scott Litt revisiting the bestselling 1994 album, offering a fresh perspective on each track.
On May 15, “Strange Currencies (Remix)” was featured prominently in the official trailer for Season 2 of The Bear, which follows Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), Sydney Adamu (Ayo Edebiri), and Richard “Richie” Jerimovich (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) as they turn their grimy sandwich joint into a next-level restaurant. Multiple iterations of “Strange Currencies” will appear throughout the season, including the original 1994 mix, the 2019 remix, as well as a never-before-heard demo of the song, which will be exclusive to the show. Additionally, a “Strange Currencies” digital single featuring a live version captured in 1995 and on 1999’s Road Movie, along with the remastered album version and the 2019 remix, debuted on digital platforms this past Friday. Click here to stream the track.
This is not The Bear’s first foray into R.E.M.’s prolific discography. During its first season, “Oh My Heart” (off 2011’s Collapse Into Now) closed out Episode 3, adding additional emotional intensity to the poignant final scene, while the Season 2 finale will feature “Half a World Away” (off 1991’s Out of Time). That thoughtful integration can be attributed in part to the show’s creator, Christopher Storer, and Executive Producer Josh Senior, who are both longtime R.E.M. fans.
The admiration is mutual, as R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe counts himself among the series’ biggest fans. “The Bear is hands down my favorite show of last year – I cannot wait to dive into episodes for Season 2. Having incorporated R.E.M. songs into their universe makes it even sweeter.” He continues, “The best people at any party are always in the kitchen!” Adds bassist Mike Mills, “I’m so glad The Bear exists. It has become one of my favorite TV shows, and I can’t wait to watch more of it.”
Released as Monster’s third single in 1995, “Strange Currencies” follows a lovelorn protagonist who yearns to win over a mysterious crush. The soulful song was a Top 10 hit in the UK, a Top 20 hit in Canada, and peaked at No.8 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.
Monster was released at the height of R.E.M.’s success, following 1991’s Out of Time and 1992’s Automatic for the People. In just a few years, the four-piece had emerged from Athens, GA’s underground to become one of the biggest bands in the world, thanks to hits like “Losing My Religion,” “Man on the Moon,” “Everybody Hurts,” and, of course, “Strange Currencies.” Singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, and bassist Mike Mills traded in the intricate arrangements and acoustic settings of their earlier work for a grittier, brasher sound. Their instincts paid off, as Monster debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 and was eventually certified 4X Platinum.
R.E.M.’s enduring legacy will be further celebrated this summer through vinyl reissues of 2001’s Reveal and 2008’s Accelerate. Both long-out-of-print, the titles showcase the legendary band’s evolution during their final decade together. In stores August 25 and available for pre-order today, the albums were cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at MRP. Additionally, fans can find limited-edition pressings exclusively at the R.E.M. HQ store: Reveal will be available in a Sky-Blue variant, while Accelerate will be pressed on Black & White Marble vinyl.
Released in May 2001, Reveal marked R.E.M.’s 12th studio album and their second following the departure of drummer Bill Berry. Co-produced with frequent collaborator Patrick McCarthy (Up, Man on the Moon (Music from the Motion Picture), Around the Sun), the album found the band embracing their classic sound after the electronic explorations of 1998’s Up. Among the highlights is the pop-forward single, “Imitation of Life,” which earned the group a GRAMMY® nomination and was a Top 10 hit in the UK, Canada, and multiple European countries. Other favorites include the sublime “All the Way to Reno (You’re Gonna Be a Star),” and the melancholic “I’ll Take the Rain,” while dreamy tracks like “Beachball” and “Summer Turns to High” offer a stylistic nod to the Beach Boys.
Bookending the aughts is the band’s penultimate studio album, Accelerate. Released in 2008, the broadly acclaimed title was created largely in a live setting. After sketching out the tracks and laying down early demos, the band booked a five-night engagement in Dublin, Ireland, for a series of “working rehearsals” (released as Live at the Olympia in 2009). Over the following weeks, R.E.M. recorded Accelerate in Ireland, Vancouver, and Athens, GA with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, Weezer, Taylor Swift). The resulting album reflected that raw sense of immediacy, as the band wrote some of their hardest and most purposeful songs in years. Rolling Stone, declared Accelerate to be “One of the best records R.E.M. have ever made.”
Both titles follow vinyl reissues of 2004’s Around the Sun and 2011’s Collapse Into Now earlier this year and continue Craft’s ongoing creative partnership with R.E.M.
FX’s The Bear was created by Christopher Storer (Ramy, Eighth Grade), who acts as executive producer alongside Joanna Calo (BoJack Horseman, Undone), Hiro Murai (Atlanta, Station Eleven) of Super Frog, Josh Senior and Matty Matheson, with Tyson Bidner (Ramy) serving as producer. The series is produced by FX Productions.