R.E.M. Calls It Quits
I happened to tell a younger friend and fellow self-professed musicologist the news that R.E.M. announced their breakup today and he said sarcastically that it’s been years since they’ve been relevant anyway. Well, I thought, maybe he’s right. Although their first nine (or so) albums were (in my mind) classic, near classic, and so far beyond relevant that they were groundbreaking, genre defining, and the coolest shit your 1980s ears had ever heard, I probably started to lose interest in them after Monster.
Not to say their newer stuff wasn’t good, but to my ears it wasn’t the stuff that made them great. I remember reading that a band member (maybe Mike Mills?) saying they it was his goal to have their last concert on December 31, 1999, finish up with It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, and then walk off stage and call it quits. That might have been a good exit strategy, too.
R.E.M. was one of the few really, really important bands in my life. It sounds weird to say it because I can’t put into words how they helped define me as a person especially in the 80s, but I bonded with them in a way unlike any other band. I loved those guys and turned literally 100s of people on to them.
I’m just now finishing up listening to Murmur and I’ve got the rest of their catalog loaded up on my iPod. This party might go on all night.