R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” Reworked from Minor to Major Scale

Take R.E.M.’s 1991 ballad “Losing My Religion” and rework it from minor to major scale, and here’s what you get — something that’s, as one Vimeo commenter called it, “recognizable enough to be nostalgic…unique enough to be shared!” Other songs digitally reworked by MajorScaled TV include “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors, Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” and Django Reinhardt’s “Minor Swing.” Follow MajorScaled TV on Facebook for eventual additions to the collection.

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Related Content:

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Reworked in Major Key, Becomes a Cheerful Pop Song

R.E.M. Reveals the Secrets Behind Their Emotionally-Charged Songs: “Losing My Religion” and “Try Not to Breathe”

R.E.M Plays “Radio Free Europe” on Their National Television Debut on The David Letterman Show (1983)

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Comments (29)
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  • Debby S says:

    It’s okay, interesting, but sounds… weak compared to the original. Original inspires more emotion.

  • Rose says:

    There is a reason why it was written in a minor scale.

  • Michael Fiala says:

    why do it??? it’s nowhere as good as the original

  • tom says:

    Great one. Maybe they should rework all minors into majors then they would have even more songs “unique” enough to be shared.

  • Sharon says:

    I agree with Debby, Rose, and Michael. The song in major scale does not touch me at all; the original impacts my soul.

  • MidianGTX says:

    Y’know guys… I’m not convinced the idea was to create a superior version of the song. In fact I think it quite obviously wasn’t, what the heck are you all talking about?

  • Andrew says:

    I think this shows how our sophistication improves our emotional experience. it is a successful experiment, because it proves how empty our world could be.

  • William Barnett-Lewis says:

    Truly sad nasty excuses for copies of good music. The scale chosen initially is for a reason not to be molested like this for LOL’s.

    All I can do is hope this is some sad joke that disappears fast.

  • Justin says:

    As a musician, I think this is an interesting idea & get a kick out of it…

    The original minor-key masterpiece is still out there for you all to enjoy, this version does nothing to detract from it. Don’t be so precious!!

  • Peter says:

    This definitely isn’t meant to be taken seriously, so stop being so serious about it. It’s just an insane and hilarious experiment, because somebody wanted to know what it would sound like. Nobody was trying to make the song “better” or anything like that by doing this. Please lighten up.

  • Mikey says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Really interesting. Would love to hear what Eleanor Rigby shifted to major scale would sound like.

  • Nucleonich says:

    Comparing this to the original is not the point of this exercise. This is a great example of the difference between Major and Minor scales and chords – worth listening to to understand the DIFFERENCE more fully.
    The fact is: people like sad things, because so much of life is sad, so minor resonates with us all. But they also like happy things because it lifts them up. As another example of this, consider ABBA songs: incredibly upbeat danceable music, but with really, really sad lyrics. That dichotomy of “happy/sad” was key to their success.

  • Mikel says:

    It is just insulting to my ears. I can´t see anything pragmatic in this experiment. A waste of time to everybody. A product of having too much time and money and not knowing what to do whith it.

  • Ross says:

    Think I prefer depressed and angsty Michael Stipe but I’ve emailed all my friends a link to this so they’ll hate me as much as I hate the person who emailed it to me :)

  • Seth Paskin says:

    As a non-musician I found it fascinating how changing the scale changed the entire feel of the song. A lovely and fun experiment that makes me want to explore my relationship to music.

  • Alan Cooper says:

    Actually I prefer to go the other way – especially with national anthems, which often then become thoughtful rather than jingoistic.

  • Jef Colkmire says:

    to Nucleonich: This isn’t a music class. And minor does not necessarily mean sad and major doesn’t necessarily mean happy. I’m a music professional and some of the most inspiring and uplifting music was in a minor key. Further, I preformed some pieces in major keys that bring you done. It has to do with how you emote.

  • Jef Colkmire says:

    This is about the ‘good ol’boys’ wanting to sell more records. Having the gall to try and convince us, the consumer, that the minor key is just to sad. Put in major and everyone will be happy and spend more money. While you at it, Mr Ol’Boy, why don’t you pass around some of those happy pill. I can see Charlton Heston at the end of SOYLENT GREEN, yelling at the hungry masses “IT’S PEOPLE!” and they don’t listen. They just want their government issued food, Soylent Green. So I’m standing on top of the roof yelling “IT WAS WRITTEN IN THAT KEY AND TO CONVINCE SOMEONE TO CHANGE THE KEY FROM MINOR TO MAJOR IS JUST PLAIN STUPID.”

  • Chris says:

    It’s just for fun you idiots. Get over it.

  • Lee says:

    Reminds me of the “happy ending” version of Gilliam’s Brazil. Interesting intellectual exercise, but not worth sharing.

  • Stephen C says:

    Can anyone run this through Swingify?


    It would make it particularly annoyingly jaunty and inappropriate. ;-)

  • Diana says:

    There is similar FB group, MajorVsMinor, that make both minor to major and major to minor rework. They have Abba, Queen, Nirvana and Beatles: http://www.youtube.com/user/MajorVsMinor

  • Tangential in Halifax says:

    I’ve only just discovered 13th Floor Elevators 1967 LP “Easter Everywhere”. From the moment I first heard the classic opening track (‘Slip Inside This House’), I was convinced that REM’s ‘Losing My Religion’ is basically just a lyrical re-working of the Elevators’ classic tune as a lament expressing anguish and controlled rage about the devestating toll HIV was taking on artistic gay communities in the late 80s.

  • bob lew says:

    I think this is a superior version…the minor scaled tune was so suffocatingly maudlin and pitiable. It had too much emotion and was way over the top. It was utterly without irony and just downright sappy. It actually marked a turning point for REM where they kind of left the “tongue in cheek” world for the sappy “I’m so very very sad about the world — whoa is me” nonsense. This major scaled version wakes the tune up! It puts an interesting spin on the heavy lyrics. It makes me love REM again.

  • Todd W. says:

    Everyone ought to take more things in general with a grain of salt. This isn’t anyone trying to make more money or release an old song in a new arrangement for publicity. It was done as an exercise to see how different things sound when pulled into a new state of frequencies.

    It’s similar to a picardi 3rd (when a song ends on a major version of the minor chord that has been dominant throughout the piece) in it’s peculiarity. This must have been a challenge to whip together. Thanks for the neat listen!

  • Bernd Willimek says:

    Major and Minor – the Strebetendenz-Theory
    If you want to answer the question, why major sounds happy and minor sounds sad, there is the problem, that some minor chords don’t sound sad. The solution of this problem is the Strebetendenz-Theory. It says, that music is not able to transmit emotions directly. Music can just convey processes of will, but the music listener fills this processes of will with emotions. Similary, when you watch a dramatic film in television, the film cannot transmit emotions directly, but processes of will. The spectator perceives the processes of will dyed with emotions – identifying with the protagonist. When you listen music you identify too, but with an anonymous will now.
    If you perceive a major chord, you normally identify with the will “Yes, I want to…”. If you perceive a minor chord, you identify normally with the will “I don’t want anymore…”. If you play the minor chord softly, you connect the will “I don’t want anymore…” with a feeling of sadness. If you play the minor chord loudly, you connect the same will with a feeling of rage. You distinguish in the same way as you would distinguish, if someone would say the words “I don’t want anymore…” the first time softly and the second time loudly.
    This operations of will in the music were unknown until the Strebetendenz-Theory discovered them. And therefore many previous researches in psycholgy of music failed. If you want more information about music and emotions and get the answer, why music touches us emotionally, you can download the essay “Vibrating Molecules and the Secret of their Feelings” for free. You can get it on the link:
    Enjoy reading
    Bernd Willimek

  • In addition to my last post, I am announcing that the English translation of our work “Musik und Emotionen – Studien zur Strebetendenz-Theorie” is now published:
    Music and Emotions – Research on the Theory of Musical Equilibration
    You can get it free at the link:
    Bernd Willimek

  • Bernd Willimek says:

    Why do Minor Chords Sound Sad?
    The Theory of Musical Equilibration states that in contrast to previous hypotheses, music does not directly describe emotions: instead, it evokes processes of will which the listener identifies with.
    A major chord is something we generally identify with the message, “I want to!” The experience of listening to a minor chord can be compared to the message conveyed when someone says, “No more.” If someone were to say the words “no more” slowly and quietly, they would create the impression of being sad, whereas if they were to scream it quickly and loudly, they would be come across as furious. This distinction also applies for the emotional character of a minor chord: if a minor harmony is repeated faster and at greater volume, its sad nature appears to have suddenly turned into fury.
    The Theory of Musical Equilibration applies this principle as it constructs a system which outlines and explains the emotional nature of musical harmonies. For more information you can google Theory of Musical Equilibration.
    Bernd Willimek

  • Axel says:

    That’s why it was written in a minor scale. Minor scales are usually used for “sad” songs and major scales for “happy” (very generally speaking)

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