This is where they walked, swam, hunted, danced and sang
So, farewell REM. You've been a part of my life since I saw you playing Can't Get There from Here on The Tube, and I borrowed Neil's copy of Fables of The Recontruction - not the best album to try first, but it was enough for me. I remember The One I Love being played on Radio 1 at least four times in one day when I drove Sophie and a Land Rover full of her stuff down to Hornsey and back in a day. Green was the soundtrack of my transitional year at University in 1988/9, and of course Out Of Time was even more so in my last, wonderful year at Edinburgh.Craig, Neil, Michelle, Ed, Michael, Avi, Steve, Robert - so many people are there with me in those tracks.
If the band had split up after Bill Berry left, they would have left behind a near-perfect body of work. Instead we had three albums of a band struggling to find a voice and a direction - although still blessed with a way to produce at least one great single per album - and a tired sounding first official live album.
If they had split up at that point, we'd have said about time too, and tried to forget the recent stuff. Instead they took something to heart, worked with a new producer and turned out two late gems, and a fantastic live album.
Like a prize fighter who has been struggling, but then wins three successive fights by knockouts, REM can go out on a high. Not the peak they'd have left behind if they'd quit in 1997, but a late flurry of brilliance. Having rightfully reclaimed our attention, they are going on their own terms.
What's been interesting is that we've had no solo albums by any of the members, even during the long gaps in the later part of their career. Peter Buck seems willing to turn up and play with anyone who asks, Michael Stipe has been producing films, and Mike Mills presumably just spends his days being nice, but none have taken the lead on anything musically. This could be interesting.
The career overall speaks for itself. Thanks guys.