REM: Classic or dud?

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I've always wanted to ask a "classic or dud" question, and some recent posts have me curious about this one. I went to college in the States in the 1980s, so I'm required to love REM's first four albums (and I do so without reservation.) I started to lose interest around Document, however, and haven't heard the last 3 or 4 at all. So what do you think? Did they start strong and peter out? Were they always crap? Do you still love everything they put out and look forward to the new one?

Mark Richardson, Wednesday, 17 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

R.E.M. slowly descending into dreaded dud status. Used to like them (hey my indie credentials are impeccable ;). I started to lose interest around "Automatic..." which still has a couple of great tracks, after that: whatever. In the end I think they only made one classic: Fables of the Reconstruction/etc.

O. Munoz, Wednesday, 17 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Like everyone else - well, no, probably some people were too sensible - I used to like REM. I loved the idea of a band where you couldnt even hear the lyrics but I discovered pretty quickly that you could and they weren't that great anyway. Even so I was a big fan circa Green and a lukewarm fan circa OOT, and then thought they'd cracked it with Automatic but suddenly after a month or so of loving it had the Damascene revelation that it was terrible.

And I've honestly not really been able to listen to them since. Memory tells me that the first album or so is OK. The myth of REM, that they came along and saved American rock or something, always struck me as odd - did American rock need 'saving'? I'm not that up on my history of early 80s US rock, but the ecstatic reception of REM strikes me as being a kind of reaction to punk - OK the need for new music is appreciated, but does it have to be this noisy and nasty? Ah, here come some 'proper songs', good. A similar thing happened in the UK with the - perceived - difference between new wave and post- punk, maybe.

Tom, Wednesday, 17 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Not so much classic or dud as 'unimpressed.' Never really liked REM, except when Michael Stipe was on "Pete and Pete"

We'll give them dud, for kicks.

JM, Wednesday, 17 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Very much "comfort zone" music, the choice of hip but unadventurous twentysomethings (now in early thirties) everywhere. Art made unobjectionable. But, uh, is that a bad thing? I can't decide, but Stipe's falsetto when he covers Femme Fatale is precious, so I say classic.

Sterling Clover, Wednesday, 17 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

No band is good forever, so based on my favorite REM material I'd have to say classic. But it feels odd giving that designation to a band that's about as interesting as Matchbox 20 to me now (I'm sure Matchbox 20 is actually great to all you wannabe Chuck Eddys, but you know what I mean ;-)

Tom, I think the way college radio (and students) embraced REM in the 80s was more of a reaction against new wave than it was punk. Something about the Byrdsian harmonies/guitars was so firmly "rock" (and more specifically American rock) and yet also perceived as "different" (probably due to the muttered vocals and murky production.) That's a powerful combination when you're talking about an American pop music movement. I always felt like REM existed beside the punks pretty easily, touring w/ Husker Du and The Replacements and so on.

Mark Richardson, Thursday, 18 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I read a comment recently in which one of REM claimed that what punk meant to them was the possibility of mixing everything up together, breaking the rules and so on--but what it transpired that he meant was that they could play folk music instead. Which has to mean DUD.

That said, having missed out on REM the first time round, about from the indie disco classics, I've been having a go at their early records. So in two months I may be a fan, but on current form, probably not...

alex thomson, Friday, 19 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

The strange thing with R.E.M. is that I always knew people who liked them so heard a lot of their music (at least, music from Out of Time, Automatic, and Monster), but never owned any myself. That said, with napster I've checked them out quite a bit, and while a lot of their stuff isn't bad, it's not particularly strong either... that is, except for one song, which I actually feel is one of the most haunting I've ever heard, and that's "E-Bow the Letter" off New Adventures in Hi-Fi. From the constant drone in the background to the lyrics to the amazingly good idea of having Patti Smith on back up vocals, the song just plain works, and is surprisingly powerful, at least to me.

Sean Patrick O'Toole, Tuesday, 23 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Mark: Touring with the Replacements and Husker Du doesn't really mean anything in and of itself (certainly nothing to do with punk rock) given that both bands were probably trying to be REM by that point in their careers ('mats should've quit after Hootenanny, and Husker Du should've quit after Zen Arcade, or probably Metal Circus to tell the truth). REM was a pathogen; they killed American punk rock by pointing many novel and hopeless bands/labels into saleable (so they thought!) half- assed college rock directions (look at SST records for example...starts out with some seemingly decent aesthetic principles, puts out some outstanding Black Flag and Minutemen stuff, and ends up vomiting forth coffeehouse jangle- nothings like Trotsky Icepick, Angst, later Minutemen etc.) Cosloy goes from GG Allins band(!) to Matador records (the best release on which is the La Peste retrospective which is a better link between REM-culture and punk rock since La Peste were an actual punk rock band and yeah, obviously this is much later but REM created the climate for this whole indie rock thing, where "alternative music" somehow becomes the only music worth listening to). Even the Angry Samoans (who I'm sure hated REM) got kind of boring! Not counting metal (broadly defined to include everything from Testament to Union Carbide Productions to Celtic Frost to Cinderella, all of whom were excellent) and Sonic Youth, there was basically no good American rock music at all in the late 80s, was there? Halo of Flies?!? And now you've got all this alt-roots junk, which is also REM's fault probably, and I blame REM for sanctimonious junk like Live and Creed as well.

Basically REM sucks eggs. "Real World" by Matchbox 20 is a lot better than any REM song. The best thing about REM is that they still show "My Breakfast with Blassie" sometimes on TV.

Kris P., Tuesday, 23 January 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

their best album for me is still "reckoning", which was released in, what, 1984? best song--'camera'.

geeta dayal, Tuesday, 6 February 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Oh classic, probably, I used to love 'Automatic..' when I was 14, and though interest has petered out over the intervening years, they still hold a place in my heart. Now, like most people, I prefer their earlier stuff, and though I found much of 'Monster' and 'New Adventures..' dull and insipid, on their last album, 'Up', they still managed to pull some gems from their now slightly more ample behinds. There aren't many bands in their mid forties who are still any good at all. In fact I can't think of any. So I salute them.

Ally C, Friday, 9 February 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I would tend to distinguish between 80s and 90s REM. 80s REM has an engaging sense of being genuinely offbeat (vocally and lyrically - but musically very easy to get along with), whereas 90s REM has an air of strain, lack of inspiration, grandstanding, being 'so humble we're arrogant', 'so ironic we're compassionate', and other atmospheres that I can't do a very good job of putting into words.

I like everything pre-Green - I think that LRP and Document may be the masterpieces, for all their US80srock flourishes. The repetitive jangle of things like 'Cuyahoga', 'Welcome To The Occupation' or 'Heron House' is the sort of predictable thing I like (but I could never have predicted it). I must admit, I do like a lot of the 90s material too: I liked Out Of Time when it came out, recognize that there are good tracks on Automatic (but it got so grotesquely overrated), even have a soft spot for Monster ('I Don't Sleep, I Dream' is splendidly large, thudding and echoing), despite its lack of melodic quality. The real clunker, in my book, is New Adventures In Hi-Fi - BY FAR the worst REM record ever. After that, Up could only be a move up, and it has its moments (none better than 'Daysleeper', as far as I recall). Still, by the mid-90s there was something sadly insufferable about the tone, the image, the projected persona(e) of REM.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 13 February 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

They just left me...cold, somehow. I like a few of their songs on an intellectual level, but the playing, lyrics, and _especially_ the singing seem utterly rote and passionless. Still, like I said, on an intellectual level (chords and notes n' stuff) I like a lot of their stuff. My single favorite song of theirs is "Electro Light," I never hear that one mentioned.

Jack Redelfs, Wednesday, 21 February 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I was surprised and interested by that last entry that said 'on an intellectual level (chords and notes and stuff)' REM were OK. I am interested in chords and notes and stuff - but from an utterly amateur, non-musicological perspective - and I would be interested to hear what is meant here - cos REM strike me as being really relatively uninteresting from that particular POV.

the pinefox, Thursday, 22 February 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

one month passes...
If ever there was a band that should have been called "The Emperor's New Clothes," REM was it. This is what they were: a lead singer/songwriter with nothing to say, taking it to the point of making nothing to say a "style"; and a halfassed backup band that never met a cliche it couldn't use. This is a band that goes around bragging about how hard they don't work on their music -- it just comes out of the air, it only takes twenty minutes for them to write a song. Well, gee, imagine that. And here I thought it only took them ten minutes to write them.

Rock and roll is deader than jazz, anyway. The answer to all your questions is, yes, REM really does suck as much as it seems, now that you've emerged from your childhood. Christ, I'd rather hear the Cowsills on any given day than those smarmy assholes.

Just my humble opinion...

Douglas Fletcher, Friday, 6 April 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

one month passes...
FYI: Cee-Fax one-line review —

REM "reveal" melodic side once more

There seems to be an awful lot of hatred quietly sedimented into those otherwise meaningless claw-quotes, or am I just projecting?

mark s, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Tom's R.E.M.-success-as-reaction-against-punk theory up there sounds pretty unlikely to me. From a mainstream regular-person non-music-freak point of view, punk did not exist in the U.S. back then. It had no exposure whatsoever. It certainly couldn't have been perceived in any way, shape or form as such a threat that people would need to rally around the first jangly guitar band that comes along.

Patrick, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

More like cynicism / sarcasm, I think, Mark.

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

REM/U2 etc. - the best worst bands or the worst best bands ?

geordie racer, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

The reation against punk threory makes sense in the limited realm of college-radio where REM grew from. It could perhaps be more said that REM's sound allowed it uniquely to hold an underground base while also climing the charts.

Sterling Clover, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

One of those bands I'd like to like, seeing as almost everyone else in the entire world does (possibly an exaggeration), but they're just...well...boring. Sorry.

DG, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Anybody got "Reveal" yet? Thoughts?

Dr. C, Thursday, 24 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

utterly shit on TOTP last night, along with RADIOHEAD, fuxache this type of bollux i ask ya !!!

geordie racer, Saturday, 26 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Lost interest sometime around 'Automatic', but 'Fables of the Reconstruction' is still lovely. At least Stripe has finally come out, good man.

Stevo, Saturday, 26 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Yeah, TOTP...he was using an autocue!

DG, Saturday, 26 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I've only very recently picked up a few REM albums and really have no sentimental attachment. The first few albums still sound pretty fresh, I think, although I can't put my finger on what's really interesting about them. My favourite at the moment is Up; there's clearly a fair amount of filler but Suspicion, Sad Professor, Daysleeper and Lotus still affect me, however underwritten they might be.

As opposed to apparently every critic around the world, I'm quite disappointed by Reveal. The last thing we need now is another apathetic 'Hey, everything will be alright' album. The tunes are pretty enough but I can't hear anything with the passion of Murmur or Lifes Rich Pageant. Maybe the computers just took it out of them a little.

John Davey, Monday, 28 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

one month passes...
I too was in college in the 80's and at that time, REM was without a doubt my favourite band. Document made me think they were going the way of U2, but the band remained on my "buy without hearing list". I can't even remember which was my last. It was the one with Texarkana on it. Anyway, there are two REMs. All albums after LRP just aren't any good even though good songs can be found there. Murmer, Reckoning, Reconstruction and LRP are about as good of a 4-set as you will find in history,IMHO. The simplicity should be acclaimed, not criticized. I suppose for me, the deathblow was Buck's experiments with the mandolin. When the guitar left, so did I, and I haven't heared a reason to go back.

Paul M Lafleur, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Stop press. I am very sceptical of any REM after about 1991. Imagine my surprise to find myself thinking: cor - this Reveal record is pretty good!

the pinefox, Saturday, 21 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

pinefox - Is Reveal the first record you like of the zero decade? Except Lloyd Cole of course who is doing quite well on his latest actually!

alex in mainhattan, Sunday, 22 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I don't want to overrate Reveal. It's not that great - just a slightly pleasant surprise.

Records I like in the zero decade include: Lloyd, The Negatives; 6ths, Hyacinths & Thistles; Costello / Mutter, For The Stars; B&S, FYHCYWLAP. Of these, I think Lloyd's is the best. EC does what he does. 6ths and B&S are patchy by their authors' standards. I can't think of many others.

the pinefox, Sunday, 22 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

three months pass...
Pinefox, I was the one who professed to enjoying R.E.M on a intellectual level, "chords and notes and stuff." I think what I mean is that they sound to me like a GM midi file: No matter the tempo or style, the band just plods along professionally, without any surprises or sudden jolts. They're just not very dynamic. ESPECIALLY Stipe. That said, the actual content of there songs can be quite good, and I really enjoy what I've heard of _Reveal_.

Jack Redelfs, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

five months pass...
Ugh. I am on of thsoe mid-30's people who luckily caught on to REM fairly early on (about '84). I don't recall them to be claiming punk/new wave/ post-pop/college/alterna....they were just a breath of fresh air when pop music wsa dominated by total shite.

Yeh, anything after 'document' or even 'lifes rich pageant' for that matter is supsect but ya kind of had o be there to understand the significance at the time.....

I but them at this time at of sentimentality

Michael D, Sunday, 31 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

three years pass...
There are nowhere near enough "classic"s on this thread, so... CLASSIC!! No matter how terrible their new records get, they're still one of the best bands ever. How many great albums have they made? Ten?

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Saturday, 30 April 2005 13:23 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, it's no secret that I think they are classic and are still a pretty good band even though they seem to be in decline. I'm sure they will continue to write quality songs and play good live shows.

Matthew C Perpetua (inca), Saturday, 30 April 2005 13:59 (eighteen years ago) link

classic, but they bore the shit out of me and always have.

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Saturday, 30 April 2005 14:46 (eighteen years ago) link

Haven't made an album that isn't really good yet!

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 30 April 2005 15:32 (eighteen years ago) link

classic, of course. but really, i'm only posting to point out that kris p.'s post from 2001 is the most ridiculous thing i've ever read on ILM.

tim, i think that post could cut both ways...

john'n'chicago, Saturday, 30 April 2005 15:37 (eighteen years ago) link

If they had broken up after Hi-Fi I could be so much more unreserved in my fanship. Hard to believe THAT album is almost a decade old.

miccio (miccio), Saturday, 30 April 2005 15:39 (eighteen years ago) link

i would stretch anthony's comment to UP and think they would've been fine. monster turned 10 and that record was thrilling to me as a high schooler.

still classic, even if i hardly ever take these discs off the shelf any more. i used to debate the merits of gardening at night with my trig teacher. (, Saturday, 30 April 2005 15:53 (eighteen years ago) link

I think that Reveal and Around The Sun are below average in terms of their back catalog, but still have some really great songs on them. I fault R.E.M. for making albums that are only half-good but I give lesser bands a lot of credit for making albums that only have two or three good songs. So grading on a curve really hurts them.

Matthew C Perpetua (inca), Saturday, 30 April 2005 16:08 (eighteen years ago) link

I think that when Michael Stipe when from being completely introverted to Courtney Loving it up, it was a real trap for the band's overall feel. Shiny Happy People seemed like such an aberration, and then Automatic was a slickly produced return to form of sorts, even if it opened the floodgates further. Monster didn't bother me as much as some folks, and I really like(d) New Adventures and Up. But Reveal was the first album that I found completely ridiculous and middle-agey, even New Age-y. Around the Sun I've never even heard.

I thought The Great Beyond was a lovely single, as was Imitation of Life (even Bad Day fits into this category), but those seem more like lucky accidents than an indication that they could record an entire album as consistent as those 15 years ago. (, Saturday, 30 April 2005 16:12 (eighteen years ago) link

And let's not underestimate the impact Bill Berry's departure had on the band's chemistry. He was more than just the ugly drummer; he wrote quite a few songs. Moreover, when you lose a drummer as solid as Berry, your band's gonna be awful slack in the rhythm department. That's how the remaining members justified their boring "electronic" direction to the press (all those gratuitous allusions to Eno, etc).

If "Hi-Fi" had ended with "Be Mine," it'd be classic REM, probably in my top four or five.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Saturday, 30 April 2005 16:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Reveal was definitely the heartbreaker for me, esp. since "Imitation Of Life" was the best song they'd made since frikkin' who knows. Stuck out like a silver thumb and made the rest of the shit seem downright willfully awful. Ending with Hi-Fi would have a) allowed them to maintain that we-four-are-REM beauty (R=4!) and made "Electrolite" their curtain call. "I'm not scared, I'm out of here"!

miccio (miccio), Saturday, 30 April 2005 16:37 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic in the 80s, semi classic through the 90s, shit since 'Reveal'.

I.M. (I.M.), Saturday, 30 April 2005 16:39 (eighteen years ago) link

They're definitely one of those bands where little flaws have become so crippling that it taints previous albums because I can see how little mistakes would evolve into tragedies. Stuff that would be forgivable if that's as far as they'd take it are now offensive.

miccio (miccio), Saturday, 30 April 2005 16:41 (eighteen years ago) link

i've argued with matt perpetua elsewhere about this, but i agree with anthony here - i can't listen to automatic anymore because i think it's so poorly paced. i know there are folks who'd disagree, and i love "side 2" but it's just such a jarring side 1.

having missed the monster tour - which would've been awesome as a high schooler - i was equally thrilled to see them on the UP tour as a college senior. they were ecstatic and did their best to include some older stuff...that the crowd booed! (, Saturday, 30 April 2005 16:53 (eighteen years ago) link

The warner bros. four-piece years are so tied up with my youth that I find it really hard to judge them critically - the idea of explaining what makes them 'good' is fucked because the appeal was so much less concrete at the time I memorized every melody (if not lyric). If I try to imagine how these albums come off to the unfamiliar I have to assume they're all patchwork nonsense. I'd probably throw Chronic thru Fables at an arty newbie as the early stuff has dance beats and Gehman-Litt haven't brought in the whole awkward arena element.

miccio (miccio), Saturday, 30 April 2005 17:02 (eighteen years ago) link

PC Zeppelin really. Should have broke up when the drummer died.

miccio (miccio), Saturday, 30 April 2005 17:03 (eighteen years ago) link

PC Zeppelin really

once they moved from dance clubs to theatres

miccio (miccio), Saturday, 30 April 2005 17:04 (eighteen years ago) link

It's as impossible to explain REM's allure to neophytes as it is to explain the Beatles. ("But they wrote really GOOD songs!")

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Saturday, 30 April 2005 17:08 (eighteen years ago) link

Gehman* obv

you can see me from westbury white horse, Wednesday, 26 July 2023 01:22 (four months ago) link

Gehman otm. The band got what it wanted: "Fall on Me" on AOR radio, their first gold album, etc.

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 26 July 2023 01:34 (four months ago) link

Having skipped the last few albums, Every Day Is Yours To Win is a lovely discovery for me. Good pick, Mike.

Alba, Wednesday, 26 July 2023 09:58 (four months ago) link

Reckoning was treated worse, and the Murmur picks are odd.

here's a half assed theory: from having listened to many REM bootlegs from the early years up through Green they played those Reckoning/Murmur songs soooo much, the ones I see here (We Walk, So Central Rain) stand out as being either not a song they played a lot live, or are a little different than the rest of the album. We walk stands out on Murmur because of the beat, So Central Rain stands out because it's the catchiest poppiest song on the record. I dunno. I'm guessing they like playing the hits like Fall on Me, but great songs like Harborcoat got worn out by playing them so much

a (waterface), Wednesday, 26 July 2023 11:56 (four months ago) link

bet you’re right

assert (matttkkkk), Wednesday, 26 July 2023 13:20 (four months ago) link

Bertis Downs adds a few more

Ten more, Bertis’s version:

Gardening at Night
Turn You Inside-Out
Life and How to Live It
Walk It Back
Horse to Water
Green Grown the Rushes
Maps and Legends
Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)
Monty Got a Raw Deal

a (waterface), Wednesday, 26 July 2023 13:54 (four months ago) link

Waiting for Kate Pierson's top 2 list.

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 26 July 2023 14:16 (four months ago) link

I’d wait for Jefferson Holt’s Top 10, but I guess the terms of his settlement make that unlikely.

Melomane, Wednesday, 26 July 2023 14:50 (four months ago) link

Bertis gets it re: fables!

realistic pillow (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 27 July 2023 03:12 (four months ago) link

Saw that show tonight with Michael Shannon and friends, including Jason Narducy and John Wurster (and my guitar teacher) covering"Murmur" in its entirety (plus some deep cuts). It was for the 40th anniversary of the Metro; REM had played the club's first ever show. Super cool icing on the cake, Mike Mills showed up to sing on about a half dozen or so songs! Shaking Through, 1,000,000, Swan Swan H, These Days ... He was having a blast, and the whole night ruled. I'll post some videos once other people put them up.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 July 2023 05:33 (four months ago) link

I was there too! Loved it.

underwater as a compliment (Eazy), Monday, 31 July 2023 07:27 (four months ago) link

smh tv shows… for a second there I thought that both REM and Steely Dan had a long lost outtake called “The Bear”

brimstead, Monday, 31 July 2023 15:35 (four months ago) link

Good god, extreme FOMO (or AAMO, anguish at missing out?) about that Metro show! (I mean, I would have had to go to Chicago, but had I known that was happening and that Mills was showing up, I might have!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 31 July 2023 16:26 (four months ago) link

Here's one of a few clips I found (this one sans Mills, but the band killing it):

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 July 2023 16:31 (four months ago) link

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 July 2023 16:31 (four months ago) link

Here's a clip from the same dude that has Mills:

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 July 2023 16:33 (four months ago) link

they sound great

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 31 July 2023 16:47 (four months ago) link

One fun thing about the show is that it felt like it would be just Murmur start to finish and 1-2 songs for an encore, what you might expect from a pick-up band of this quality. Then they got to the end of the album, did "There She Goes Again" as a quasi-encore, took a short break, and then went on for an hour or more.

Full setlist here. A standout for me was "Nightswimming", with just Shannon singing and keyboards and cello.

underwater as a compliment (Eazy), Monday, 31 July 2023 17:56 (four months ago) link

Under the Silver Lake used “Strange Frequencies” before The Bear. It plays in its entirety through the end credits

beamish13, Monday, 31 July 2023 18:07 (four months ago) link

My friend/guitar teacher Curt (manning the Rickenbacker) told me from his perspective that one reason why it didn't feel like a cover band was that focus on early stuff and deep cuts, and no hits.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 July 2023 18:11 (four months ago) link

Had to check to make sure it was THAT Michael Shannon. Had no idea he was a singer and REM fan.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 31 July 2023 18:15 (four months ago) link

Shannon’s done a bunch of these tribute nights in Chicago, in addition to working with the theater company he’s part of (sometimes onstage, sometimes working the box office). He’s done The Cars, The Smiths, Velvet Underground, a few others I can’t remember (and I never saw one until last night).

He’s doing a live interview tonight for Mark Caro’s Caropop podcast, and when that airs I’m sure he’ll talk about these nights. (And it’s kind of the perfect thing for an actor/musician to do during the WGA/SAG strike.)

It’s also fun that the band felt like basically guys of the same generation, so I imagine they all knew these songs well before rehearsing them for this show (only one rehearsal, according to Wurster’s FB post).

underwater as a compliment (Eazy), Monday, 31 July 2023 18:21 (four months ago) link

Obviously Stipe has a one-of-a-kind voice, but Shannon fits this very well

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 31 July 2023 18:26 (four months ago) link

This dude has a few more clips:

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 July 2023 19:34 (four months ago) link

Here's one with Mills (this song ruled):

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 31 July 2023 19:36 (four months ago) link

He also did a Neil Young tribute thing too. I have mixed feelings about all the tributes but I admit at least part of it is the monopoly he holds on such things and the preponderance of men onstage. So my feelings are partially petty but also partially not.

Piggy Lepton (La Lechera), Monday, 31 July 2023 19:44 (four months ago) link

Someone posted most of "Shaking Through," which is a good vantage, especially if you want to see Wurster's sartorial tribute to Berry:

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 August 2023 12:44 (four months ago) link

For those with access, Tom Breihan just posted his essay on "Orange Crush":

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 2 August 2023 12:59 (four months ago) link

I used to have a great tape of REM's appearance on KCRW's Snap show w/Dierdre Donoghue in 1991, really loose, with lots of chat and impromptu cover versions. Well I lost the tape over time and could only find boots with the chat all cut out but thankfully KCRW have put it up on an online archive, it's a great listen.

MaresNest, Saturday, 12 August 2023 22:16 (three months ago) link

Thought this revive would be about REM tribute act Dead Letter Office, or DLO for short.

No Zing Compares 2 HOOS (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 12 August 2023 23:25 (three months ago) link

good show, MaresNest, thanks for sharing

Brad C., Sunday, 13 August 2023 14:16 (three months ago) link

Ha, I think that interview was on the B-Side of the Bingo Hand Job bootleg cassette I bought in Camden Town, nice to hear it again

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 13 August 2023 18:16 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...

I've never heard of this podcast, but the latest ep. = "R.E.M. founding member and bass player Mike Mills waxes nostalgic about his band's iconic 1992 release Automatic for the People":

Stoned Wheat Thing (morrisp), Thursday, 31 August 2023 04:29 (three months ago) link

Dolenz’s covers EP has the Michael Stipe seal of approval, via RS:

These songs are absolutely incredible. Micky Dolenz covering R.E.M. Monkees style, I have died and gone to heaven. This is really something. ‘Shiny Happy People’ sounds incredible (never thought you or I would hear me say that!!!). Give it a spin. It’s wild. And produced by Christian Nesmith (son of Michael Nesmith). I am finally complete.

an icon of a worried-looking, long-haired, bespectacled man (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 13 September 2023 22:36 (two months ago) link

Never one of my favorite REM tracks, but this does sound like a good idea.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Wednesday, 13 September 2023 22:50 (two months ago) link

seems appropriate ... R.E.M. did "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone" in a lot of their earliest shows

Brad C., Wednesday, 13 September 2023 22:59 (two months ago) link

Dolenz Sings R.E.M. Tracklist:
01. Shiny Happy People
02. Radio Free Europe
03. Man on the Moon
04. Leaving New York

an icon of a worried-looking, long-haired, bespectacled man (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 13 September 2023 23:57 (two months ago) link


The Thin, Wild Mercury Rising (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 14 September 2023 11:01 (two months ago) link

Daydream BeSleeper

Hereward the Woke (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 14 September 2023 13:44 (two months ago) link

ok, i have to really tip my cap for getting Wuxtry Records into that cover. next best thing would've been the tree that owns itself.

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Friday, 15 September 2023 14:18 (two months ago) link

Some commentary by Mike on various songs and other R.E.M.-related things:

my brain goes aahhhh (morrisp), Friday, 15 September 2023 15:30 (two months ago) link

Kind of fascinating how much they (and others) rep for "Reveal." Like, “All the Way to Reno (You’re Gonna Be a Star)” as the best song after Bill left? Really?

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 15 September 2023 16:57 (two months ago) link

Maybe it’s an in-joke

assert (matttkkkk), Friday, 15 September 2023 19:55 (two months ago) link

Number six.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 15 September 2023 20:07 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

Mike talks extensively about Up and other things:

(Mike's a talker these days!)

Girl (1956) (morrisp), Thursday, 2 November 2023 21:06 (one month ago) link

daaaaamn -- that's a good long interview.

hat trick of trashiness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 November 2023 21:19 (one month ago) link

I will now promptly read the whole thing

you can see me from westbury white horse, Thursday, 2 November 2023 21:55 (one month ago) link

Thanks for that!

The Triumphant Return of Bernard & Stubbs (Raymond Cummings), Thursday, 2 November 2023 22:09 (one month ago) link

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