Strange Currencies

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"Strange Currencies"
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Monster
B-side "Strange Currencies (Instrumental Version)"
Released April 18, 1995 (1995-04-18)
Format CD single, 7" single, 12" single, Cassette
Recorded 1994
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:52
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe[1]
Producer(s) Scott Litt & R.E.M.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"Bang and Blame"
"Strange Currencies"
"Crush with Eyeliner"

"Strange Currencies" is a song by R.E.M.. It was included on the album Monster and was also released as the album's third single in 1995. The single hit #9 in the UK singles chart and peaked at #47 in the United States. Like Everybody Hurts on R.E.M.'s previous album, it has three beats to a bar.


Stipe has said that the song is about "when somebody actually thinks that, through words, they're going to be able to convince somebody that they are their one and only."[2]

The song almost didn't make it on the album, due to its rhythmic similarities to "Everybody Hurts." Yet Michael Stipe's melody, the band felt, was too good to pass over, so the original rhythm was slightly reworked.


The video, directed by Mark Romanek, was shot on the first anniversary of the death of Michael Stipe's close friend River Phoenix and features River Phoenix's last girlfriend, actress Samantha Mathis.[citation needed] It is in black and white, and shows the band playing in an industrial area. The images of the band are interspersed with other shots, some such as a child playing with a dead bird suggesting urban decay.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe unless otherwise indicated.

12" and CD Maxi-single
  1. "Strange Currencies" – 3:52
  2. "Drive" (live)1 – 4:17
  3. "Funtime" (D. Jones/Osterberg) (live)1 – 2:16
  4. "Radio Free Europe" (live)1 – 4:43
7", Cassette, and CD single
  1. "Strange Currencies" – 3:52
  2. "Strange Currencies" (instrumental version) – 3:52

1 Recorded at the 40 Watt Club, Athens, Georgia; November 19, 1992. The performance, a benefit for Greenpeace, was recorded on a solar-powered mobile studio.


Chart (1995) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[3][4] 100
Canadian Hot 100 14
Irish Singles Chart 26
UK Singles Chart 9
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 47
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 8
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 14
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 30


  1. ^
  2. ^ Black, Johnny (2004). Reveal: The Story of R.E.M. London: Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-776-5. 
  3. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  4. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 04 Jun 1995". Retrieved 2016-06-02. 

External links[edit]