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The world is collapsing around our ears. by jason
September 22, 2011, 9:00 am
Filed under: Rambling | Tags: , ,

So…R.E.M. Broke up.

Michael Stipe said on the REM Website: “the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.'”

Apparently, Stipe thinks it’s 1994.

OK…I’m not trying to bash R.E.M. I love them. Between my girlfriend and me, we have at least half of their albums, and some of them were damn fine albums (Document comes to mind.) I’ve never seen them on tour, and that’s kind of depressing because now, I can’t see them until I build that time machine. And I’m not trying to downplay the importance of R.E.M…I mean, they practically created college rock (back when college rock was cool).

But really, what did they do that was really worthwile after Monster? Sure, there were some good singles, like “Imitation of Life,” but they really had started to sound bland.

I remember back in the 80s and 90s when a new R.E.M. album was exciting. These guys were artists; they were the hip geniuses who made it cool to appriciate beauty. And you know what? Even some of their dumber songs, like “Shiny Happy People,” were inventive. They said you could be sensitive but hopeful, and even if you were the artists of alternative rock, you could still be goofy.

However, when was the last time you bought an REM album? I’ve gotten a lot of the new stuff from the library, but the last R.E.M. album I owned was Monster, and even that one seemed off.

Thankfully, they never, in my mind at least, got to the point where they became their own evil twin. If you look at a band like U2, you see a band that evolved from a groundbreaking, thought-provoking rock band to a self-parody to the opposite of what they were, playing in stadiums and losing touch with the world. I used to love U2. Now, they give me the DCs.

R.E.M. didn’t do this; they just got bland. Like, I have no feelings at all on the modern R.E.M. They won’t be missed because they haven’t been on my radar for years.

Ultimately, I hope that the last 15 years, while certainly not exciting, have done nothing to tarnish the memory of the R.E.M. I loved, and the will always be remembered as they were in their prime.


And here’s a video that makes a case against me: 2001’s “Imitation of Life,” which is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs/videos.


2 Comments so far
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I think it’s pretty safe to say; no true R.E.M. fan is really disappointed by this. Can you really argue with the fact that they haven’t had the same chemistry since Bill Berry retired from the line-up? “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” should have been the last thing they ever put out. Piss and moan if you disagree – their wild experiments at treading water since pale in comparison. If you disagree, you are David Fricke.

In defense of R.E.M. though, at least they haven’t descended into self parody like U2. I give them credit for at least trying to soldier on; for trying to reinvent themselves. U2 will enjoy a fair amount of hoopla later this month when they reissue “Achtung Baby”, which is arguably, the last relevant thing they did. Can you see R.E.M. pulling that same stunt? “We haven’t tread any new ground since 1992 – bask in our former glory with some unreleased studio demos.” R.E.M. at least tried.

Thanks for that.

Comment by Kevin

Glad I got to see them live once.

Comment more, you bastard.

Comment by Jayson

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