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R.E.M. share extended NSFW video for “Nightswimming”: Watch

on November 09, 2017, 12:50pm

R.E.M. will release a deluxe 25th anniversary reissue of their record Automatic for the People this Friday, November 10th. Today, they’ve previewed the re-release with an extended NSFW video for the album track “Nightswimming”.

The new clip features a longer intro and middle section in which some friends of director Jem Cohen strip naked by a campfire in preparation for an evening swim in the band’s hometown of Athens, Georgia. The hazy footage fits the nostalgia of both the song and original video wonderfully. (As someone who has ended a few gloriously debaucherous and music-filled Athens evenings in a body of water himself, the visuals had me positively awash nostalgic goosebumps.) Check it out up above.

(Read: R.E.M.’s Top 20 Songs)

In a making-of clip about the video, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe said, “He (Cohen) called all his coolest friends together and said, ‘We’re going to a lake, or a stream, and we’re setting up really rudimentary lights and you’re gonna get naked and I’m gonna photograph you and make films.’ And he put together a beautiful piece.”

The extended “Nightswimming” visuals will appear with the other music videos from Automatic for the People on a Blu-ray disc. The 25th anniversary edition will also feature several unreleased tracks and a concert LP recorded at Athens’ iconic 40 Watt Club on November 19th, 1992. Watch Stipe discuss the “Nightswimming” video below.

Cohen had this to say to Rolling Stone about the video:

“In ’91, I made a daytime swimming hole film (Drink Deep) shot mostly around Athens, Georgia, Michael took part and the ‘Nightswimming’ offer came on the tail of that. ‘Nightswimming’ was simply about skinny-dipping as a liberating celebration for all kinds of people with all kinds of bodies in all kinds of water. It was drawn right out of the song and local experience, with the one twist being the man in the motel pool. To me, MTV-style music videos were usually a sexist, commodified drag, so the video was also a chance to take that on a bit. In fact, I was frustrated by music video constraints in general and the footage we got was such a joy that I eventually did the extended ‘Full Moon’ short film you see here; breaking the song in half, full frontal all around, etc.

It was very generous of the band and label to let me go ahead with it. Michael had also been there for most of the shooting, a measure of friendship, of his intense involvement with independent film, and of his deeply personal connection to the song. One of the only hitches with the whole ‘Nightswimming’ project was that to make the deadline we couldn’t wait until summer to shoot so we sometimes froze our asses off, but all in all, it was one of the sweetest gigs I’ve ever had.”

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