Michael Stipe, singer of the best rock band ever, is releasing his first original music since R.E.M. split up in 2011. “Your Capricious Soul,” which Stipe has been performing live for several months, will be available for purchase October 5. The song will be released digitally via Stipe’s personal website; for a year, 100 percent of proceeds are going directly to environmental and social activist group Extinction Rebellion.
According to a press release, “The song will be available exclusively via MichaelStipe.com upon release and will not immediately appear on any of the major digital streaming platforms. The download is priced at 77 cents but those who prefer to give more can enter an amount of their own choosing. A free download option will also be provided.”
The download includes a music video filmed by artist and director Sam Taylor-Johnson. Below is a quote from Stipe regarding the new track:
“I took a long break from music, and I wanted to jump back in. I love “Your Capricious Soul”—it’s my first solo work. I want to add my voice to this exciting shift in consciousness. Extinction Rebellion gave me the incentive to push the release and not wait. Our relationship to the environment has been a lifelong concern, and I now feel hopeful—optimistic, even. I believe we can bring the kind of change needed to improve our beautiful planet earth, our standing and our place on it.”
A new organization, Extinction Rebellion was founded in October 2018. On its website it describes itself as “an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse.”
Stipe has a long history of political activism. Many R.E.M. songs contain political lyrics, sometimes overtly. See “Ignoreland” from Automatic for the People. As the the band become more successful, Stipe used public appearances to speak out about contemporary social and political issues. He spoke at a Bernie Sanders campaign rally in 2016, and didn’t mince words when Donald Trump used “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” during one of his own rallies.
“Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you—you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men,” he wrote at the time. “Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”