It seems I've entered that delicate stage of feckless dotage in which I get misty-eyed over bands that are no more. No, they're not dead as with, say, Fleetwood Mac, but REM is no longer:
"To our fans and friends: As REM, 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," the statement continued. "To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."You're welcome, REM, and thank you. I write this within physical reach of seventeen REM CDs, almost all of them worth cherishing, the others merely well above average. Modern-day readers will understand CDs as sort of a primitive version of blu ray disks made especially for music -- no video signal at all -- and meant to carry upwards of 80 minutes of music. People paid money for them in stores, frequently without having heard a note of the music encoded on them beforehand, then trudged back to their hand-built log cabins to build a fire against the forbidding night's cold and for cooking cornbread or biscuits or thinnest gruel, depending on the quality of the recent harvest. The cows would need to be milked at dawn, the potatoes dug thereafter. Then school would start.
REM made excellent music for a long time. I am not yet ready to use the past tense there, but the fact is what the fact is. Songs like the following turn out to be perfect for negotiating the hardships and confusions of life in the olden days -- and for the days to come, I should think.
"Monty Got a Raw Deal"
"Begin the Begin"
(via Obscene Desserts)