dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

R.E.M.: 25 Random Memories

R.E.M. announced today on their official site that, after 31 years, they've broken up:
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."
And just like the lyrics "the photograph reflects, every streetlight a reminder" from "Nightswimming," one of my favorite songs by the band (which I'm listening to now), I don't think I could possibly sit here and type out exactly how much R.E.M. have sound-tracked certain events in my life. I'm not saying they were my all time favorites. And I actually never got to see them live.

But, ah, well — here are my 25 random R.E.M. memories:

* Not liking "The One I Love" when I was 13.

* Loving "The Finest Work Song," which my best friend in summer 1988 played all the time.

* Getting Green for Christmas in 1988 on cassette.

* Loving "Stand" in winter '88/'89 then being over it by February after too much radio overkill.

* Seeing the "Losing My Religion" video for the first time at my friend Mandy's house in March 1991.

* Playing Out Of Time relentlessly in summer '91 and buying all of the import CD singles at Randy's Records. 

* Feeling indifferent and not "getting" how rad "Drive" was when it was released in fall 1992. (I've since amended this mindset.)

* Not buying Automatic For The People (and missing out on their so-called "best album") until 2007.

* My entire floor of co-eds owning Monster and playing it non-stop my first year away at university, in fall '94/spring '95.

* A friend who lived on the floor above me introducing me to "Nightswimming" and Electronic's "Disappointed" (another one I'd missed when it was out three years prior) in the same day. Mind-blowing.

* My first boyfriend playing Monster frequently in his white Honda CRX.

* A group of friends from my floor going to see R.E.M. in concert in summer '95 and not inviting me.

* Driving around and turning "Strange Currencies" up loud every time it came on the radio in summer '95, while still trying to process my first year away at school.

* Getting Monster (though I knew it note-for-note by that point) and New Adventures In Hi-Fi for Christmas on CD from my mom in '96.

* Being really disappointed in New Adventures In Hi-Fi after loving Monster (but the moody "Leave" was pretty great).

* Buying Up in fall '98 but thinking it was awful.

* Moving to L.A. in '99 and being blown away by Man On The Moon soundtrack jam "The Great Beyond."

* Liking bits and pieces of Reveal and putting the great "Imitation Of Life" on several mix CDs I made for friends in 2001.

* Listening to "Leaving New York" and crying a lot in New York City the week after the 2004 Presidential election.

* Never getting around to 2008's Accelerate.

* Having a Twitter back-and-forth with Xolondon, Pop In Stereo, This Man's World and PopMuse in early March this year and debating what their best album was. (I said Monster, though I guess that's my favorite, not necessarily their best.)

* Buying Collapse Into Now, liking it, watching it debut at #5 on the album chart then plummet out of sight this past spring.

* Thinking the end was near given the above, and that R.E.M. didn't even tour in support of the record.

* Playing Automatic For The People repeatedly in April and May while writing a short story that I may or may not continue to work on more extensively, if I get the bug again.

* Buying Automatic For The People on vinyl off eBay, and playing it loudly one Thursday night in April while sitting on my balcony and watching the rain pour down at 11:30 p.m.

Side note: The band is apparently releasing a career-spanning greatest hits by year's end, with a handful of new songs included. Sweetness follows...

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  • At 2:51 PM, Blogger Robin said…

    Loved reading this list. Everyone should choose a band they like and do one like it.

  • At 9:01 AM, Blogger D'luv said…



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