We All Go Back to Where We Belong

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"We All Go Back to Where We Belong"
A black background with "R.E.M." written in white along the left side and "WE / TO / ALL / WHERE / GO / WE / BACK / BELONG" written in white in a starburst design, clockwise from left-to-right
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011
ReleasedOctober 17, 2011 (2011-10-17)
FormatMusic download
RecordedJuly 2011
StudioJohn Keane Studios, Athens, Georgia, United States
LabelWarner Bros.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"All the Best" / "It Happened Today"
"We All Go Back to Where We Belong"

"We All Go Back to Where We Belong" is the final single from American alternative rock band R.E.M., released in 2011. The song is the lead single from the band's final album, the career-spanning greatest hits compilation Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011. The song was made available over the Internet on October 17, 2011.[2]


Dunst smiling
Giorno facing toward the camera
Two music videos were shot for the song, focusing on the faces of Kirsten Dunst and John Giorno

The song was originally written by bassist Mike Mills and was recorded by the band in Athens, Georgia in July 2011,[3] after the sessions for its final studio release, Collapse into Now.[4] The band finished this song as well as the demos "A Month of Saturdays" and "Hallelujah" with producer Jacknife Lee initially with the intention of creating an album independently, after having fulfilled its contractual obligations to Warner Bros. Records,[5] but decided to disband instead.

Two music videos with direction by Dominic J. DeJoseph and Michael Stipe—one starring Kirsten Dunst and the other with John Giorno.[6] Stipe conceived of the concept for the videos spontaneously while recording his vocal track[3] and asked DeJoseph to make the videos in the style of Andy Warhol's Screen Tests.[7] Stipe personally asked Dunst—his neighbor in New York City—to star in the video and did three takes with Dunst; the one that was chosen had him singing the song to her off-camera.[8]


Critical reception[edit]

Early reviews of the song considered it a "low-key, string-drenched ballad" (Stereogum)[9] and compared it to the pop styling of Burt Bacharach and R.E.M.'s 2001 album Reveal.[10] Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone gave the song 3.5 out of five stars, writing that the "orchestral folk rock... suits their breakup perfectly."[1] Exclaim!'s Alex Hudson had a similar sentiment, declaring the single "a nice kiss-off with lyrics that read a bit like a pensive goodbye message."[11] Claire Suddath of Time also considers it a fitting final single, comparing it with the wistfulness of "Man on the Moon"[12] and The Boston Herald's Jed Gottlieb has compared it favorably to R.E.M. ballads "Nightswimming" and "Perfect Circle".[13]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[14] 35
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[15] 29
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[16] 59
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[17] 13
Venezuela Pop Rock General (Record Report)[18] 8



Technical personnel


  1. ^ a b Dolan, Jon (2011-10-18). "We All Go Back to Where We Belong | Song Reviews". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers Company, LP. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  2. ^ Roffman, Michael (2011-10-17). "Check Out: R.E.M. – "We All Go Back To Where We Belong"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  3. ^ a b Almås, Gry Blekastad; Bergmo, Tonje (2011-11-08). "R.E.M. ble rørt av Brun og Høyem" (in English and Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  4. ^ Fricke, David (2011-09-29). "Exclusive: Mike Mills on Why R.E.M. Are Calling It Quits". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers Company, LP. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
  5. ^ Perpetua, Matt (2011-07-08). "R.E.M. Begin Work on New Album". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers Company, LP. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  6. ^ Young, Alex (2011-10-27). "Video: R.E.M. – We All Go Back To Where We Belong (Kirsten Dunst Version)". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  7. ^ Whalen, Jill (2011-11-02). "Area native continues work with R.E.M." Standard-Speaker. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  8. ^ Travers, Peter (2011-11-09). "Off the Cuff: Kirsten Dunst on Vampires, 'The Bachelor' and R.E.M." Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers Company, LP. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  9. ^ Breihan, Tom (2011-10-18). "R.E.M. – "We All Go Back To Where We Belong"". Stereogum. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  10. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (2011-10-18). "Exclusive Stream: R.E.M.'s Final Single, 'We All Go Back to Where We Belong'". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers Company, LP. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  11. ^ Hudson, Alex (2011-10-18). "R.E.M. "We All Go Back to Where We Belong"". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  12. ^ Suddath, Claire (2011-10-19). "R.E.M. Says Goodbye With Its Last Single". Time. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  13. ^ Gottlieb, Jed (2011-11-11). "R.E.M.'s final songs add to lasting legacy". The Boston Herald. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – R.E.M. – We All Go Back to Where We Belong" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – R.E.M. – We All Go Back to Where We Belong" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  16. ^ "R.E.M. Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  17. ^ "R.E.M. Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  18. ^ "Pop Rock General". Record Report. 2012-03-01. Archived from the original on 2012-03-01.

External links[edit]