Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's the End of the World As We Know It

After an amazing 31 years, R.E.M. has decided to call it quits today. A short statement on their website reads:

"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." R.E.M.

As a longtime fan this saddens me. There are some bands you wish would actually break up because their newer material will never live up to the past. I would have put R.E.M. in that category just a year ago, but this year they released the shockingly good "Collapse Into Now", which I contend is as good as anything they ever put out. But keeping in mind The Beatles were only together for 7 years, getting 31 mostly quality years out of of any rock and roll band is amazing.

R.E.M. were one of the first bands I fell in love which I felt were really MINE. In the early days before "The One I Love" catapulted them into stadiums, listening to them you felt like you were invited to a party at some underground place that only you and your closest friends were allowed into. R.E.M. brilliantly fused the music of The Byrds with the sound of New Wave and featured one of the most enigmatic and gifted vocalists of all time. It shouldn't have worked at all, but their sound was so unique and frankly strange, that you couldn't help but listen over and over again trying to put it all together.

So today bust out your cassette deck, crank up your warn-out copy of "Life's Rich Pageant", and enjoy the sounds of one of the greatest American rock and roll bands of all time.

October 2, 1985: Germany

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