Thursday, 22 September 2011

Dear R.E.M.

So, that's it, then; the end o' an era. No longer shall we endure the teetering, furtive worry of 'How Will This One Pan Out...?' with each new record, nor the shrieking clamour of flippant, clueless judgement from people who don't know the first fucking thing about the band upon their every release. (Alright, there was a handful of absolute duffers on each of those last three, but let's face it, most musicians would still give their arpeggiating right-hand for songs as well-written as High Speed Train, The Outsiders, Accelerate and Sing For the Submarine).

This could be the saddest dusk I've ever seen, but the time is right, sirs; you leave with your dignity intact, your permed/shaggy/slap heads held high and a solid last album in the bag which neatly summarised the best parts of the last 30 years. Mercifully shorn of ill-informed 'User Comments' bleating on about how you "got rubbish" after New Adventures in Hi-Fi (WRONG), ceased to be relevant after Bill Berry's departure (WRONG) and have simply put out a series of "crap albums" ever since (WRONG), here now is my requiem. You were the only band who I genuinely once sabotaged a legitimate chance at sex for by suggesting that the lady in question and I instead watch the video for Drive (I still maintain that I made the right choice, for both her and myself). You were the only band to make me spontaneously burst into tears at a live gig - not once, but twice. You were, for years, the only band.

You were the final thing earthly thing Kurt Cobain wanted to hear before leaving this world - and wrote Losing My Religion, for fuck's sake. For these two facts alone, immortality should be not just assured, but divinely ordained. I'll skip the part about love; it seems so shallow.

Chronic town, poster torn, reaping wheel; boxcars are pulling out of town. So, farewell then, boys: it's been unforgettable, unbeatable and - above all - indelibly emotional. My hands, tired, my heart aches; I'm half a world away.

Mournful but eternally grateful regards,

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