I Love your covers! In fact, your version of “Title” is now included in all of my Document playlists.
Thanks so much fightingelf! I do maintain that some are better than others, but I’m glad people enjoy them. Some “reached too high” lol IMO. My Discoverer one with all the half-baked harmonies and me doing my best/worst Stipe imitation with “attitude” is one where I still go “what was I thinking?” My production skills have improve, however, since back in the day so I do plan to remix a couple and maybe refine a few vocals someday. It’s on my to-do list. I always think "I’ll revisit these REM covers the way Sting reunited The Police—I’ll just know when “it’s time.” Best!
I relate to the feeling. I’ve been very angry at various points in time and for various reasons. Most importantly when they broke up in 2011 I couldn’t digest the news and I felt some resentment for the way things ended. For not being able to attend live concerts any more in the future, no more “5 album cycle”, it was a combination of things that for a while I just disconnected myself from the band universe. I wouldn’t want to know anything about it. I abandoned forums where I posted opinions, etcetera, although I believe that I always kept listening to the music despite the resentment.
Only several months or even years after that tumultous date of September 2011 did I let go and presently I can look back and agree that yes, it was sad and it was a pity, so many opportunities wasted, but anyhow life must go on without R.E.M.
Currently I should say there’s a thing that bothers and has me a little disappointed. It’s that the guys (and especially Stipe) only appear in the mass media (radio, television or the press) when there’s a major CD or LP release or reissue. But between one release and the next they stay pretty quiet and do not grant any interviews. It all feels as though they’re trying to sell me the brand new this or the brand new that, but I wish that they made more frequent media appearances where they didn’t try to sell me anything.
I do understand that they decided to not just retire R.E.M. and from R.E.M., but also from the whole “music business” as Peter named it more recently. The guys in R.E.M. were not and have never been “rock stars” the way people glamourized in the 70s, when it was a whole lifestyle and clothes and hairs and girls and drinking and drugs and crashing hotels and delaying records and melodrama and shenanigans. Nope.
They faced the band like the best and funnest job on earth, but still a job. It was work after a point – “something we can do with our lives and we know how to do it well enough to make a living,” they would say. It was not their whole thing. That’s why Bill retired peacefully and not with lawsuits and drama. So now they don’t feel like stepping into the mainstream media anymore, just like we wouldn’t go to a place where we used to work and deal with the same insufferable boss for no reason.
As for being pro or con their retirement in 2011, I could write a lot, but let’s just say I was shocked at first and glad in a second moment.
I can’t say that I was shocked as I knew the day would come. I also can’t say that I was glad. My first emotion was sadness. I miss them but am not one of those folks that believes they owe me one last tour, album, or performance. If ever they so chose to perform again, that ball is in their court, it’s not up to the fans. They don’t owe any of us anything.
Very likely an unpopular opinion, but I just can’t connect with the post Bill catalogue. I bought all the albums, hoping to find something that would rekindle that spark. It didn’t happen. Up was the threshold and it was downhill from there. Michael’s lyrics became more and more absurd, the music didn’t excite me. I tried to re- listen once or twice, hopeful, but ultimately disappointed. Bill was so much more than just the drummer. I feel the band relied way too much on synths once he left. I know many, many people love R.E.M. as a three legged dog, as Michael put it but R.E.M. became a spent force for me. I’d probably get flamed to ash for this post anywhere else. I might even get flamed here, but it is what it is. The IRS and early Warners stuff is so sublime, I’m devoutly grateful for it and came to terms with not enjoying the later material.
Woah! You guys have highjacked my thread! lol. I guess we’ve moved on from the band kind of not caring about their legacy in the material sense (via deluxe reissues), to the whole break up stuff.
Well, I’ll bite just to keep the conversation going. At first I too was annoyed they broke up (ESPECIALLY after Peter released SO MUCH extra music, thus proving he had loads of ideas and riffs) but–like some of you–I can’t say that I adored the last 5 or so albums. I also tend to think that Collapse Into Now is a very underwhelming final record (and don’t even get me started on We All Go Back to Where We Belong–just a terrible, tuneless, meandering thing).
If the band could not function as a unit anymore (too many musical differences of opinion, I believe) then it’s best they called it quits. I actually HIGHLY respect them for not having a “final tour.” I know that annoys some fans but the way I looked at it, if you hadn’t seen them by then, it’s kind of your fault.
I’m also okay with them not reforming or having a reunion, although their inability to have a band photo anymore annoys me. It’s like they take GREAT PAINS (especially Stipe) to NOT appear on stage or anywhere near the other 3. I find that a little silly, but as a guy who also suffers from OCD and weird social phobias, I suppose I’ll give the guy a break.
So there we have it: CIN is not the last great REM album I wanted and given how each album seemed less and less of what I actually wanted from them musically, the split didn’t bother me as much. SweetFannyAdams, I very much agree with you. I’m so torn on the last 5 or so records. I see glimmers of brilliance here and there, but a lot of mediocrity and Phil Collins adult contemporary stuff (which I CONTINUALLY try to fool myself into thinking is good).
Jorge: I know what you mean about them appearing in public to only promote or “sell” something but that makes sense. They’ve never been celebrities in the sense that they appear on talk shows just to talk. Most public figures are the same way: they make the rounds to promote something (film, TV, etc). I don’t think the band have wide enough interests to just “appear” in places to talk about other stuff (aside from Mike and his golf podcast appearances, lol).
PS: I totally get the whole “sick of the music business” argument too from them, but, again, they could just do indie albums released on indie labels, so for me that argument holds no water either. If I was to truly guess why they split–I say differing musical opinions. Peter and Bill liked to make records quick and dirty, and Mike and Michael liked to tinker forever in the studio polishing and polishing. Once Bill left, Peter was on his own…thus, I can see how just the process of recording music was more a chore than fun. I guess what I’m trying to say is…I blame Mike and Michael for breaking up REM lol. I can’t even say that’s a half joke!
“We All Go Back to Where We Belong” is one of my favorite songs they ever did during any era of the band, including the post-Bill years. To my ears, it showed they still had plenty of gas left in the tank and weren’t afraid to take their music in a different direction, especially after the “righting of the ship” that came in the wake of Around the Sun with Accelerate and Collapse into Now that hearkened back to a more familiar R.E.M. sound.
As for them not appearing together in photos post-R.E.M. It’s not a staged photo but someone took a photo of Buck, McCaughey, Stipe, Berry, and Mills standing together at the 40 Watt watching the Chronic Town 40th anniversary show. Again, they don’t owe us a fucking thing. What a stupid ass thing to get upset about. They’re retired from R.E.M.
I’m not upset about anything, actually. Just typing. Sheesh dude. You’re not making this a safe space at all to talk. I thought you were different than the axe-swinging guys on the facebook, group. Welp. Time to get back to more grading…
I’m just expressing an opinion, no axe swinging here. By the way, in case you need reminding, the name of your post is “I am angry at r.e.m.” so, evidently you are upset.
My post title was clickbait to get views. I already said I was “mildly annoyed” at best. As for your tone, you’ve more than once said “they don’t owe us a fucking thing” which one cannot help but to read in a slightly aggressive “no more talk!” way, and you literally called my opinion a “stupid ass thing” to express! It might not be a direct Ad Hominem, but it’s certainly dancing around it! Stop gaslighting me DriverNate! (These are all mock emphatic exclamation marks, BTW).
In short, if all you’ve got to add to this discussion is the same old broken record “they don’t owe us a fucking thing” and calling people stupid asses, then you need to seriously re-evaluate your diplomacy skills on this board.
Look. I’m out. You’ve basically proven that internet discussion with strangers is useless, unproductive, and aggravating at best. You broke my heart, DriverNate. You broke my goddamn heart.
You’re a fucking idiot.
come on guys, take it down a few notches.
When I said shocked, I can add sad to that. Mildly sad. Not only I have a personal philosophy in believing that nothing lasts forever, but I could understand how and why they were retiring the band even then. You said it: that day was coming.
As for not owing us, I do agree they don’t owe us a final tour (I also respect them a lot for not doing that) or a final album (they did give us a final album, albeit a terrible one in CiN) or anything as an extant band. I believe they owe us in terms of releasing decent legacy stuff, like the original thread proposes – because we remain and their work remains. They’re not a band anymore and it’s fine that way, really, but “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed”.
One thing I wanted to point out is that as the band is retired and no longer supported by a major label, the vast majority (if not everything) the band has done since they split is essentially self funded.
It’s irrelevant that they’re wealthy and still have a steady income from REM. We’re essentially now expecting them to pay to keep us in REM stuff. I would be surprised if very much at all that they’ve done since they split has turned much of a profit. Probably not enough to warrent the work from a commercial sense anyway. Most likely the sort of numbers that would make a major label can activity altogether.
I remember seeing Michael and Mike across Europe, doing press for the Warners re-releases and realising “they paid for this”.
If they hadn’t have done the R.E.M. thing and taken their biggest selling catalogue away from Warners, we’d have maybe seen much more, certainly from a marketing perspective. That said, we’d have almost certainly seen more tat released like the IRS “Best of”. They’d have been milked.
So, in short, i think REM fans are really lucky with the Stewardship of the band. They’re essentially funding the content for us, whether it be converting their videos to High Definition on Youtube, designing new merch or simply the running of HQ that provides content daily.
I too have been disappointed with the content of recent anniversary additions because I’m a huge fan, and i have it all. That said, the only physical anniversary I bought was Fables because it’s my favourite album. I’ll be far from alone in this. The reissues on streaming services will get generate very little additional income, as they essentially just replace the albums already there.
I personally thank the band are doing a lot, at not insignificant personal cost. For a job they retired from 12 years ago.
Apparently, this person felt they could make a post in this group in a “safe space” where there would be no opposing opinions, that it would be some sort of echo chamber. If you go back and read my first post in the thread and their response to it, you can see that they didn’t even read what I wrote in regards to how I have also not been happy with every anniversary/archival release. What I call expressing an opinion, they call “just typing” as though their words have no consequence on the topic at hand. What a big, fat load of bullshit that is. If you’re going to make a contribution to the board you should fully expect that not everyone’s going to always agree with you. Same for FB, their post was evidently met with opposition there so, they posted it here thinking it would be met with total agreement. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the fucking kitchen.
This is my final post, and I’ve turned off notifications. Please know I completely respect differing opinions. No echo chamber here. But when they are delivered in quasi-hostile ways peppered with obscenities and insults, well, that’s not cool. That was the “safe space” I was referring to—not sure how that got confused with the former, to be honest.
I’ll stick to talking REM with Clive (Butler—check out his REM covers on YT, he’s amazing) and wasting my other time with Elden Ring (any gamers out there?).
I’ll post in the far future if I ever finish that Devil Rides Backwards cover and if anyone cares.
Drivernate. No hard feelings.
Thanks to anyone who replied or read and knew what I was getting at. I’ve been an REM fan since age 12 and sang dozens of covers/own a ton of useless REM crap, lol. I don’t think I need to prove my love for the band, credentials, or objectivity here. Best to all. RM.
I still believe they don’t owe us anything, including archival releases. Some artists don’t release anything like that at all. R.E.M. gave their all for 31 years, had a fan club that never raised the membership fee, recording singles especially for fans for many years, offered fan club members first dibs on tickets, etc. Yet, there’s always going to be someone that wants more. They did their time as R.E.M., you would think that’d be enough. Anything after that should be considered icing on the cake.
I don’t know how much is coming out of the bands’ own pockets to release work by their respective projects but I wouldn’t think they’re solely responsible for all of it or promotional tours/appearances. I would think Concord/Bicycle is funding that. Then again, I don’t have any sort of inside track to know. However, I would imagine someone like @ethank would.
Around the time of the REMTV release there was an article from Bloomberg about it also being an effort to test the waters for the potential release of a box set. As best I can recall, physical sales were poor, streaming numbers were much stronger. A couple years ago, Stipe mentioned a 40th anniversary boxset in at least a couple interviews. It’s my understanding, that whatever that was got put on the backburner due to Covid. I haven’t heard anything about it since.
It took me some time to come around to Up. It’s a dense, multi-layered album. The type that has to grow on you. That’s what happened to me with it. It took a while but over time, I came to appreciate it. While I love the album, hearing those songs live in more stripped down arrangements had a lot to do with it. It is my favorite pos-Bill Berry album of theirs. Reveal is my least favorite followed closely by Around the Sun. I don’t dislike or hate either of those albums, they’re just the ones I love the least. Though it’s considered a misstep, at least Around the Sun brought us Live at the Olympia.
The resulting studio album, Accelerate, never quite hit the mark for me. It has it’s moments but to my ears it’s often the sound of R.E.M. trying too hard to approximate the sound of an older, more familiar version of R.E.M. Collapse Into Now continues in this direction except with more of a balance in the variety of songs. There are also conscious nods to previous works. Some saw those as R.E.M. being creatively spent. Since it was their last album, I always took those to be an homage. All that said, with the exception of Up, I rarely listen to anything past New Adventures in Hi-Fi. What I listen to most frequently are the I.R.S. era albums. None of this is knock on the rest of their catalog. I have only a certain amount of time I devote to listening to music each day (some days more than others). I’m also not getting any younger. So, I choose to spend that time wisely when it comes to the music I listen to.