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The Breakup of R.E.M.

The 2011 announcement of the breakup of the band R.E.M.

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A Quick Tip by rbuchanan

  • Sep 27, 2011
  • by
Meanwhile, The Pixies will continue to tour Doolittle in popular second-tier venues from October 27th through November 21st. I could only be happier if a helicopter blade somehow bifurcated Bono from skull to groin. Thanks again, Shiva.
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September 30, 2011
Any tiny event that injures - however slightly - the rock orthodoxy, is fine by me. The only REM song I had any time for was 'Shiny Happy People,' which the group - earnest, laughably over-serious muffins to a man - reputedly loathed. Hey ho. As a good man once noted: you can't take anybody seriously who takes themselves this seriously. They won't be mourned where I am.
October 01, 2011
Hey ho in-deed - I was even a whit sad when The Ramones split, well after their second decade reduced them to risible shadows of their former selves. Mind you, I've some respect for this act - Mills, Buck and Berry are fine musicians, and this was a band of exceptional stamina, who could tour their most durable peers to an exhaustive standstill. Yet though they earned their fan base by dint of an admirable, conventional work ethic, their status as media darlings is owed that trendy, unswerving political correctness that moderate leftists adore. They wouldn't dare address anything too controversial (i.e. legitimate), so any sloganeering against Israel, NAFTA, Big Pharma, etc. was verboten for this lot...instead, they opted for trite progressive-lite blurbs concerning rainforests and gun control whilst supporting the "liberal" of America's two special interest-owned mainstream political parties.

As for facility, am I the only listener who noticed how lightweight this band was? I refer not only to tonality but thematic quality...megahits like Losing My Religion, The One I Love and the aforementioned Shiny Happy People are easy on the ear, professionally executed and as exciting as a tea party amongst grandmothers. Having examined at length their first eight albums - nearly a decade of music - I came away with a scant few subtexts unearthed, and even fewer hooks dug through my earlobe. Listen to any Smiths album followed by a contemporaneous R.E.M. release - it's as though all the juice was squeezed taut from a towel tossed stateside. Really, R.E.M. generated soft rock with just enough quirk and literacy to assure a label of "alternative," or whatever the fuck else the industry hired hacks to type in order to sell discs to '90s hipsters. If I learned anything at all from Bryan Ferry or silly Moz of thinning coif, it's that no degree of artistry or bombast can elevate rock to genuine erudition, so it needn't be taken too seriously or approached as a genteel exercise.

BTW, I've come to anticipate your occasional album review - not only because you've an exceptional talent for enraging vacant fans, but because you're among the few genuinely astute and educated critics of popular music who I know of online. Even though our tastes don't often coincide (despite some typical intersections: Beatles, Smiths, Joy Division), I've learned more about quality pop music hitherto unknown to me from your offerings than those of anyone else.
More The Breakup of R.E.M. reviews
Quick Tip by . September 21, 2011
posted in Music Matters
Over 30 years of great alternative pop and modern rock records and they've now announced that they've broken up. This is truly a sad day for music fans!
Quick Tip by . September 29, 2011
Eh, I was never a big fan of R.E.M. I had a friend in college who thought they hung the moon, so I've heard a lot of their music. It never impressed me enough to go out and buy any of it for myself.
About the reviewer
Robert Buchanan ()
Ranked #29
I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. announced via its website that it was "calling it a day as a band". Stipe said that he hoped the band's fans realized it "wasn't an easy decision": "All things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way." Long-time associate and former Warner Bros. Senior Vice President of Emerging Technology Ethan Kaplan has speculated that shake-ups at the record label influenced the group's decision to disband. The group discussed breaking up for several years, but were encouraged to continue after the lackluster critical and commercial performance of Around the Sun. The band members will finish their collaboration by assembling the compilation album Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011, scheduled for release in November 2011. The album will be the first to collect songs from R.E.M.'s I.R.S. and Warner Bros. tenures, as well as three songs from the group's final studio recordings from post-Collapse into Now sessions.
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