Before David Archuleta headed out on his two-year mission with The Church of Latter Day Saints, he recorded a cover of REM’s “Everybody Hurts,” complete with an orchestra.
“I hope you know that I never wanted to leave you guys without music, and will continue when I get back,” Archuleta said on his website about the cover, which appears on his recently released album, BEGIN.
The video, which features the American Idol runner-up recording in the studio, focuses on those going on their own missions from a young couple separating for college to an armed servicewoman serving in the Middle East to a father whose daughter is getting married.
The original by REM off of their 1992 album, Automatic For the People, was also meant to be optimistic and written for those contemplating suicide, telling those struggling to never give up.
Though Michael Stipe has always been evasive about the song’s meaning and known to change the lyrics of his songs on a regular basis, in 2001 the Nevada Assembly praised the band for “encouraging the prevention of teen suicides,” specifically mentioning “Everybody Hurts.”
Guitarist Peter Buck did admit to the BBC in 2005 that even he didn’t really know what Stipe intended to say with the song.
“I remember Michael saying something to the effect that he wanted younger people to not have to worry about metaphors,” he said. “The only metaphor is in the bridge: ‘throw your hand’, which is a card-game metaphor.”
No matter what the song is about though, the band understands that “Everybody Hurts” is a song that is very meaningful to many different people.
“We’ve tended to license the song out for free to charity,” Buck told the BBC.
The song was recently used as a charity single for Haiti after the devastating earthquakes that happened there in 2010.
– Shannon Carlin, CBS Local