R.E.M have shared the previously unreleased song “Fascinating” to benefit the non-profit Mercy Corps’ hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, and Peter Buck recorded “Fascinating” in 2004 at Compass Point Studios in Nassau. The song is available on R.E.M.’s Bandcamp page for $2 or a donation of the fan’s choosing.
“Fascinating” was originally recorded for the band’s 2001 album Reveal, but was left on the cutting room floor despite being one of Stipe’s favorite tracks from the session. “It’s really beautiful,” Mills said in the 2002 R.E.M. biography Fiction. “It has a flute, oboe arrangement, but it made the record too long… and something had to go.” The band rerecorded the track in 2004 in the Bahamas for the Around the Sun album, but ultimately decided the song didn’t mesh with the rest of the record.
“I have been fortunate to spend many weeks working and playing in the Bahamas, making friends and lots of music there,” Mills said in a statement. “It breaks my heart to see the damage wrought by Hurricane Dorian. Please help us and Mercy Corps do what we can to alleviate the suffering caused by this catastrophe.”
Stipe worked with Mercy Corps in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, when he recorded six versions of the Joseph Arthur song “In the Sun,” raising $100,000 for the relief organization.
“The Bahamas faces a long road to recovery after this devastating hurricane,” Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer said in a statement. “We’re grateful to have R.E.M. in our global community of humanitarians, sharing their song with the world to help the people of the Bahamas recover and build back even stronger.”