Thursday, September 22, 2011
I'm not that upset.
I came to the party late. It was "Life's Rich Pageant" that made the lasting impression, and not the groundbreaking, 1-2 slap of "Murmur" and "Reckoning," two critically acclaimed records that left me colder than a Tribeca waitress. What followed were more songs that offered style over substance.
"Document' was a weak follow-up. "Green" bored me, as did the "Green" tour which featured a raccoon-eyed Michael Stipe in an oversized sports coat just pissing me off with his arm swings and pretentious un-rock and roll demeanor. (Or maybe it was more rock and roll than I'd like to admit. I still don't like "Green.")
And while Peter Buck remains one of the nicest people I have ever met, he and Mike Mills just didn't do it for me on stage. As a matter of fact, if I read one more review that cites Mike Mills' harmonies as anything but adnoidal, I may plotz. I guess that's no longer an issue.
Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, especially since "Out Of Time" and "Automatic For The People" sucked me right back in. R.E.M. growed up. They growed up real good. They may have lost the core with their big time MTV status, but the music was good, and for me, that comes first. The music MUST come first.
But then came "Monster," a collection of tunes that were glorified rewrites. And thus it began...the decline. The misery.
It was a reverse crossroads. The band sold their mojo to the devil.
And who can forget the great Bill Berry, someone I like to refer to as "Mojo."
(Myth? Fun, though.)
So for the last...what...15 years...we've had to endure the pressure of obligation. We were feeling the need to love this band because Patti Smith loves them...and we love her. But in reality, the music didn't feel like it was coming first. It was lifeless. And "important." Grown up in all the wrong places. R.E.M. threatened us, but we weren't fooled. "This is the one." NO, it wasn't. "THIS is the one." Uh... nope. Once the music hit, we were back on low alert.
It's the end of the....blah blah blah.
You guys did enough.