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Today we have a conversation between old friends Rick Rubin and Michael Stipe. Along with his former band R.E.M., Stipe’s expert, open-hearted lyrics gave voice to the sensitive and misunderstood among us with hits like “The One I Love,” “Everybody Hurts,” and “Losing My Religion.”

After R.E.M. broke up a little over a decade ago, Stipe followed other creative pursuits like photography. But now Stipe has found his way back to music and is working on his first ever solo album.

On today’s episode, Michael plays Rick his new song, “Future If Future” produced by Andy LeMaster. Michael Stipe also talks about why he decided to record a solo album, and how he always intended to be super famous—and what it was like when that actually happened.

Hear a playlist of all of our favorite R.E.M. and Michael Stipe songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…