Friday, September 23, 2011

REM Retires

I suppose this should be a big deal for me. It may be true that they are a bit past their sell-by date, but in the 80s, they were the real deal. I spent the middle part of the decade obsessed by them, before my deeper exploration of all the underground, semi-marginal strands of rock scattered my attentions - I can concur with what Nancy Nall said about them - "They were my favorite band in the last time in my life when I thought I needed to make such a designation." I suppose that's roughly true for me (though probably a record or two later than for her. Fables of the Reconstruction was the one I wore out...) After U2, they were the band that marked the transition from the 70s to the 80s - from classic rock to contemporary - and more than U2, they steered me in the direction I would follow - forward - they got me into the Feelies and the Replacements and Husker Du, and into the Velvet Underground and Joy DIvision and the Byrds, the bands that inspired the bands I liked that were around at the time... They were significant - the first CD I bought was the Reckoning - Lifes Rich Pageant the first record I bought on vinyl, then bought on CD 2 weeks later - I was an enthusiast, for a while anyway.

But.... They faded after a while - how much was due to their changes and how much to mine, I'm not sure, but records like Green and Out of Time didn't do much - I shrugged them off - bought one fo them on vinyl and may never have listened to it - if I ever got them on CD, I didn't put them into the computer, the 21st century mark of whether I care or not... I loved Automatic for the People, though I thought it came out of nowhere - but it didn't reestablish them in the center of my passions - I never did buy Monster, and though I have a few of the later ones, I barely listen to them, and tend to hit the skip button when their songs come up... what can I say. None of that changes how good they were, and how much I worshipped them in the 80s, and I don't hit skip when those songs come up...

So for this Friday - here are my 10 favorite REM songs:

1. Driver 8
2. Little America
3. Try Not to Breath
4. Life and How to Live It
5. Pretty Persuasion
6. Catapult
7. 7 Chinese Brothers
8. Radio Free Europe
9. South Central Rain
10. Undertow [might as well at least acknowledge the later years, huh?]


And - appropriately - leaving the stage, with Radio Free Europe and Little America.

Good bye, and thank you.

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