After 31 years of some alternative rock, fantastic guitar riffs, indie and a little bit of mandolin, REM have decided today that it’s time to hang up the guitars and microphone and leave their music behind them.
I can’t deny that I’m more than a little sad at this news, REM have been one of my favourite bands for as long as I can remember. I grew up with tracks such as ‘End Of The World’, ‘Losing My Religion’ and ‘Imitation of Life’. They were the soundtrack to my teen years and still feature very prominently on my iPod today, so it’s sad to hear there will be no more.
There’s no doubt that REM were at their best when rocking out to a high powered, fast paced tune. Mike Stipe’s almost wailing voice is a joy to behold on tracks such as ‘Orange Crush’ and ‘So Fast, So Numb’. You can’t beat a good shout-out chorus.
But there was always more than just the alternative rock classics. Many will remember REM for the slow, soothing and beautiful ‘Everybody Hurts’, which no doubt many a fan is playing right now. There were also ventures into different sounds and styles, ‘At My Most Beautiful’, ‘Leaving New York’ and the incredible Mandolin based ‘Losing My Religion’.
I’m sure many would argue that REM’s best was behind them before todays announcement and perhaps they are right – it can’t be easy recording 16 albums of original content. But the point is I have enjoyed every one of REM’s releases, with their recent ‘Collapse Into Now’ providing another anthology of catchy guitar based tunes.
But maybe it was time for it all to end, the band members have today openly discussed that they were starting to run out of inspiration and question where next. I am sad to think that I won’t get to see the guys live again, the one time I did was definitely one the best gigs I’ve ever been to with a sensational atmosphere throughout.
I’ll also miss the videos, look them up on YouTube if you haven’t, some of the most beautiful, creative, clever and funny music videos I’ve ever watched.
But tonight we say goodbye and thank you to Messers Stipe, Mills, Buck and Berry – REM.