Friday, October 7, 2011

R.E.M. Adieu

The other day I was reading through the news when my eye found the headline that the band R.E.M. had decided to call it a day. They had played their last chords together and were going their separate ways. They felt that after 30 years of writing and recording music and touring around and around the world, that they had reached the end of themselves. In truth, I kind of agreed. They had peaked musically and stylistically in the late 80s and early 90s and then morphed into something mid-aged and lifeless. Predictable, usual, and somewhat bland. This really is the death knell for a band. Without passion, without an edge, without a message that will resonate, artists cannot sustain and go about business as usual. So, in the end, I respect the group for stepping away with a strong legacy.

Certainly musical groups, even once popular ones, come and go every day. It really isn't that big of a deal in the larger scheme of things. However, there is something about this band R.E.M. that is quite special to me. Given the longevity of the group, I have been hearing their music since I was in high school. But more than that, they have been with me in every meaningful season of my life. From the highest highs to the lowest lows. Sometimes blasting with volume shaking the plaster from the walls, sometimes just a whisper in the distance. But never far away.

So, in honor of their career, I thought I would list some of my favorite R.E.M. songs:
  • The One I Love - Document
  • Fall on Me - Lifes Rich Pageant
  • Leave - New Adventures in Hi-Fi
  • Country Feedback - Out of Time
  • Texarkana - Out of Time
  • Strange Currencies - Monster
  • I've Been High - Reveal
  • Nightswimming - Automatic for the People
  • Find the River - Automatic for the People
  • Monty Got a Raw Deal - Automatic for the People