Has Murmurs Run Its Course?

Lots of folks popped in when the site was relaunched at the beginning of the year but participation started to trail off pretty soon afterwards. Now, it seems to have slowed to a trickle. Not entirely unexpected.


I often now feel alone when I come here, the only user on site. I came back because I missed the comradery of the old murmurs. It’s not the same. Things change & I accept that. We were all younger then, & now have families & other commitments or moved on, There is not a lot of R.E.M. one can talk about that hasn’t been said before, unless one follows the side projects, still, it’s not the same as the old murmurs before R.E.M. disbanded. Then there are all those other social media sites, I can’t keep up with them all, too much info all at once. I’m still going to post in here, less confusing, until I feel I’m talking to myself. I may even start talking to myself without even knowing it.


Yeah, well… I`ve been here mostly the only one online when visiting.

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Seems like a metaphor for REM’s legacy as compared to other once-big bands. There are continued in-depth discussions about the songs of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc., but almost crickets about REM. Had something halted the band during their peak years, it could be a different story.

Same for me. I come here about three times a day and it’s always my own avatar there at the “users online”.

IDK why people vanished like that. We could be having nice conversations about pretty much everything with like-minded people.


The problem is that R.E.M.'s fanbase is dwindling and hasn’t rejuvenated. When the very last of the generation Xers dies, so will the memory of R.E.M., the greatest band that ever existed, will go away.

The fact might seem trivial, but you do not see any youngsters sporting R.E.M. t-shirts. You see them wearing Nirvana, The Cure, Ramones, whatever, and that’s in my opinion an indicator of a band’s relevance. On the other hand, R.E.M.‘s back catalog has stalled, while other bands’ CDs (such as Pearl Jam to cite an example) enjoy healthier sales rotation.

We need the younger generation to start embracing the band, its music, its values, it’s the only way.

On the subject of murmurs specifically, I thank Mr. Kaplan for reopening the place (despite the facebook onslaught). Whoever wants to post here, will continue to do so, and whoever wants to go to facebook or twitter go ahead with it, it’s a free world. We the irreductibles will continue to spend time here whatever turns out to be the forum’s traffic.


I don’t know about that. R.E.M. have many timeless classics. I have, and am still discovering bands much later than their beginnings & ends.

There was a lot of excitement on twitter when the re-release of Chronic Town was announced. Mostly positive, but here on murmurs…well it’s quite funny actually.

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I believe it may say more about message boards than it does over all interest in R.E.M. When FB came along it turned most of the message boards and email discussion lists I was a member of into virtual ghost towns. I’m a member of three R.E.M. groups on FB, two of which have new posts everyday. Some lead to in-depth discussions, some don’t. The third group, which is devoted to the I.R.S. years has post approval turned on, meaning the Admin has to approve each individual post. From my own personal experience, it can take up to two months for your post to be approved. Meanwhile, in another group the same person admins, he will usually approve posts within a day or so. I suspect if they turned post approval off there would be more traffic. There are also a lot more R.E.M. groups on FB. I imagine a lot of the same posts appear in all the groups.

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I don’t know about the Cure but i imagine the reason you see so many younger people wearing Nirvana and Ramones t-shirts is because they are abundantly available at department stores, it doesn’t necessarily mean the people wearing them are fans of the bands. I’m also not sure if Pearl Jam is a good example as they are still an active band.

I don’t know how the numbers break down but from what I could tell, when Murmurs relaunched most of the members had been members of the original Murmurs. They returned to catch up but it appears very few have stayed around to weigh-in on R.E.M.-related topics, including the 40th anniversary edition of Chronic Town.

As for R.E.M.‘s legacy, it’s hard to gauge that but in all fairness, they were never in the same league as the Beatles, the Stones, Pink Floyd, etc. They may have been around for 31 years but their years of worldwide success were relatively brief. Their impact was felt most in the alternative/indie realm but I imagine that would be considered a niche genre compared to rock n’ roll as a whole.


I agree with you. I believe this site murmurs would be a niche also.

With few exceptions, I believe message boards (as well as email discussion lists) have declined in popularity since the arrival of FB, Twitter, and Instagram. When R.E.M. was still active I’m guessing We Talk at Murmurs was the most popular R.E.M. forum with the alt.music.rem newsgroup being a close runner up. It’s still going, at least last I checked.


I am a bit disappointed that a lot of the names from that intro thread didn’t stick around, but we all have our own lives and all, so it goes.

I signed up because I have fond memories of posting in 2002. REM was a fine band and all, but at this point discussing them is not really a big draw. I keep checking in because I like the people posting here: reading their other music recommendations, and general life updates, and all that.


Yeah, at this point I feel like there’s not a lot to say about R.E.M. that hasn’t been said already, but I’m here to keep up with the old gang. I suppose that doesn’t drive site traffic, but as long as Ethan’s willing to provide the space, I’ll keep coming back.


What Donna said. R.E.M. is no more. We discussed the songs and shows when they were happening, in minute detail. I just feel sad now because, yes we have a treasure trove of memories. The gigs, the songs, all of it and nobody can take that away but it feels like talking about a dear friend who passed. Thankfully all the members are still alive, but it’s not the same. My listening stops at Reveal. Always has done. I just can’t relate to the post Bill stuff. But the IRS and early Warners stuff is pure gold.


I was going to say before that the non-R.E.M. areas of We Talk on Murmurs often seemed to be busier than the areas devoted to R.E.M., especially when there wasn’t a new release to discuss. It would appear that those sections of this incarnation of Murmurs also seem to be frequented fairly often. I’m guessing that outside of meeting up at shows, there’s where most of the bonding amongst fellow fans occurred, which probably goes without saying. That said, there is always going to be the anniversary and archival releases to discuss as well as the careers and activities of the R.E.M. members. It seems Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey always have something going on, which is as true now as it was when R.E.M. was still active. I believe there will also be new fans who are anxious to discuss the many aspects of R.E.M.


I’d love to hear Peter’s stuff. I was warned not to expect anything remotely mainstream or even very musical, but the album titles were funny…from what I understand his albums are so niche they’re almost impossible to find. And I think there are only 2 or 3? I think one is called Filthy Friends.

He has 3 solo albums, all vinyl only. I like them a lot, but they are somewhat of an acquired taste.

Filthy Friends is a side band with Corin Tucker from Sleater Kinney, amongst others (including Scott McCaughey, obviously). They’ve had two albums, both pretty easy to get hold of, or stream. Both great. Probably as close to R.E.M. as he gets these days.

Also recommend his other projects with Luke Haines and the No-Ones.


Love his collaboration with Luke Haines!
On RSD I bought the Jacknife Lee remix, pretty peculiar :sweat_smile:

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I bought that too. It’s odd!