Thursday, November 3, 2011


These past few months have been hectic to say the least, and my Rolling Stone magazine subscription has become a victim of the chaos.  In a rare moment of calm, I thumbed through my growing stack of back issues and cherry picked a few headlines that sparked my interest.  I took a few minutes to read "Why R.E.M. called it quits" and then I proceeded to take a trip down memory lane.  I had heard it mentioned that R.E.M had broken up but I never took time to realize just how much I would miss them.

R.E.M was one of the first "real" bands I listened to.  I can remember watching the losing my religion video on MTV every time it came on (which was a lot).  The song is fantastic and the video is weird, a perfect combination for a music video (remember those?).  Losing my religion also transcended generations within my own family: my mom and dad liked it too.  In fact, I would say R.E.M is one of the few bands that all four members of my immediate family enjoy.  Many R.E.M songs take me back to long car rides on our annual family summer vacations and I can not help but smile.  R.E.M serves as background music when I think about my childhood and they will forever be a part of these cherished memories.

No album solicits such memories as often as Automatic for the People, without a doubt one of the greatest albums ever made.  In 1992 I had the tape to listen to in my Walkman and the CD to listen to on my stereo at home.  I cannot believe that album is 19 years old, where has all the time gone?  I can remember listening to Man on the Moon on the portable CD player I snuck into Boy Scout camp.  Everybody Hurts was frequently played throughout middle and high school for obvious reasons.  Find the River accompanied my "what does it all mean" college phase.  Now Nightswimming plays when I am enjoying a glass of wine with my beautiful wife.  

I am not going to play music critic and explain how R.E.M were the original alternative rock band or delve into their vast range of musical styles and genius.  Instead I am going to post my 5 favorite REM songs and recommend my readers take a few minutes and enjoy the raw beauty of one of the great bands of all time:

5.  Talk about the passion
4.  Stand

3.  Find the River

2.  The One I Love

1.  Nightswimming

Honorable Mention- Check out their "final" song, talk about going out on top...

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