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R.E.M Splits Up

Posted on the 22 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

R.E.M split after 31 years: Because everybody hurts?

Michael Stipe of REM Photocredit turtlemom4bacon

The rock band REM, known for their strange lyrics and punchy guitars, as well as the sexual ambiguity of their singer, Michael Stipe, have announced that they are splitting, amicably. They’ve been together for over thirty years, which most people will agree is, in rock terms, quite long. The line-up originally comprised Michael Stipe on vocals, Peter Buck on guitar, Mike Mills on the bass and Bill Berry on the drums. Their first “mainstream” hit was in 1987 with The One I Love; they then signed to Warner Bros, and international fame followed.

“Perhaps 31 years of rocking just tuckers one out,” wondered Rebecca Greenfield on The Atlantic Wire.

FINALLY! “Oh thank God,” was Gawker’s response, as they were beginning to look like “a novelist who lived too long and wrote all those crappy books”. The band members, the site continued, will carry on with “solo projects that we’ll mostly ignore”, before bidding farewell to the band, adding “I won’t really miss you.”

“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,” REM said in a statement on their website.

It was long in the works. Fans will be “absolutely stunned”, said Dave Simpson on The Guardian, but it’s been long in the works. Though their standards have been slipping recently, they are still an incredibly influential band. Initially trailblazing “a new style of alternative rock”, they moved on the crowd pleasing anthems, epitomised by the 1992 album Automatic for the People. Though their decline began after 1996 (and an $80 million record deal), they’ll always be remembered for songs like Everybody Hurts.

REM were the most over rated band on the planet and their singer is the rudest person I’ve ever met,” said Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai , quoted on the NME.

Time to leave the party. It’s hard to mourn their split, said Neil McCormick on The Daily Telegraph. They’ve split with dignity, suggesting that even they know that they’re running out of inspiration. As millionaire popstars they hardly maintained their position as edgy alternative rockers; they’ve been “adrift” since Bill Berry left in 1997. After their massive success, they stopped seeming relevant to pop culture, hardly even promoting 2010’s Collapse Into Now. Other bands should take their cue from REM, and know when it’s time to leave.

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