It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

R.E.M. announced that they are disbanding. (official statement)

Well, I’ll kill two birds with one stone here. It’s also Leonard Cohen’s birthday today. Here’s R.E.M.’s cover of First We Take Manhattan.

(not an official video but still …)

Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers's Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.

19 thoughts on “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It”

  1. Best band ever in my humble opinion. How many bands can stick around for 30 plus years, still release great music and not be relegated to nostalgic shows at state fairs? REM are/were a very rare breed.

  2. JJ – You’re on. Actually, I like R.E.M. plenty, but it’s been a long time since they put out an album that registered for me. And when I say a long time, I’m talking 1989 or thereabouts.

  3. It’s from a Leonard Cohen tribute album released in 1991 or so, called I’m Your Fan. It’s by far the best song on the album, and one of the best Leonard Cohen covers out there.

    Personally, It seemed to me that R.E.M. kind of ran out of gas after Automatic For The People … haven’t listened to their newer stuff. Doesn’t change the fact that Murmur, Reckoning, and Document are among the best music that anyone has ever made.

  4. Does this mean they won’t be playing the ‘dome in 2015? DANG! Who the hell is going to fill that place by the time it’s built? Besides Lady Antebellum? EVERCLEAR, FRONTED BY FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE AND FINGER 11? Rock and Roll is dead!!! GAAAAAAA!!!

  5. In follow up to #7, though, yeah, those are some of the best sounds around. There’s little more evocative than old Cure and REM. Coffee shops and community stations should sometimes play nothing but.

  6. After Bill Berry retired they lost their footing a little bit. But their last two albums are pretty fantastic and rank up their with their best. I highly recommend Accelerate and Collapse Into Now.

  7. #2 to name 1 band,.. RUSH perhaps?

    but people who listen / purchase rem music wouldn’t know this.

    I was hoping the title of the article was referring to stev0’s opening of parliamentary hell.

  8. took michael stipe out for dinner once..he rode in the back seat of my ’69 comet.
    we ate at a macro-biotic buffet. he seemed to like it. i was looking for meat. nice guy though.

  9. I can’t say I’ll miss REM, I haven’t really been aware of what they’ve been doing for the past decade or so. I liked quite a bit of their pre-Losing My Religion stuff and thought they conducted themselves with integrity. They had a good run. CBC played Radio Free Europe today and I felt a pang hearing that one.

    As to JJ’s point on their longevity, I’d agree that REM are in rare territory. I’d say U2 are at least their equals. I saw them in 1982 and again in 2005; they were really, really good in 82, they were great in 2005.

    Another artist with a long life span is Patti Smith. She put out great records in the 70s and a great record a few years ago. Patti doesn’t release a lot of music, she’s got other stuff to do like writing Pulitzer Prize winning books, but when she puts an album out it needs to be listened to.

    But my money is on Nick Cave. Influential with The Birthday Party (saw them in 81 with Einsturzende Neubaten opening), then with the Bad Seeds since the early 80s, and now with Grinderman in the past couple years. The man actually gets better and better, and somehow manages to put out albums with two very different groups, write really good screenplays, a novel that does a passable imitation of early Martin Amis, and not gain any weight.

    Mick Harvey, ex of The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds was also a big part of PJ Harvey’s last record. And Polly Jean’s career is going on 20 years and she’s just getting stronger and stronger.

    Hooray for the old folks who keep delivering the goods.

  10. Mark, U2 are pretty much only REM’s contemporaries in terms of bands… well, at least bands with mostly original members. I’m not a huge fan, but Metallica deserves some mention as well.

    Good call on Nick Cave. The guy is brilliant and his Grinderman stuff is crazy good.

    But rock and roll is pretty much a young person’s game, so it’s pretty inspiring to see people like REM, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Metallica, Social Distortion/Mike Ness, etc still put out good work and remain quasi-relevant three decades into their careers. AC/DC and the Stones still put on killer live shows but their new albums are just glorified tour souvinirs.

  11. Except for those who have perished by drugs or suicide or aircraft failure, the original rock ‘n rollers are still around. Rock and Roll seems old, but’s barely over 50. This is cool, but also sad, because they’re bound to take rock and roll with them when they go. R.E.M. will take jingly-jangly college rock with them… who is left? Seriously, no new memorable rock styles have emerged since grunge. That’s getting on 20 years.

  12. I’m not the only one who has said, “rock and roll will never die”. But I’m among those who say it as a lament.

    It’s all been done over and over and over again. I really don’t need to see another skinny kid jumping up and down with a guitar like they’re the first ones to do it. (I sound old and bitter I guess)

    For an interesting take on North America’s obsession with rock, check out Bjork’s conversation with Jian Ghomeshi:

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