I unliked REM today

Facebook is a funny thing. It has created a whole new language and usage. You probably immediately knew what I meant when your read in the title that I “unliked” REM. Back in the day when you could just list interests in music, movies, TV and the like I had REM listed. Then Facebook converted all your interests into ‘likes” of (usually) official pages.

Today I finally “unliked” REM. That is not to say that I dislike REM. If you knew me in my college radio DJ days you could hardly imagine I would ever renounce my affinity for the four from Athens. A few things happend in the meantime.

  1. The four from Athens became the three. In early interviews REM insisted that each member was integral to what the band was. Bill Berry left the band, and they didn’t disband. Can’t say I blame them, but it eroded some of the myth of their unique cohesion.
  2. Green was an overtly political album. I support the right every American has to free speech. But don’t expect me to pay you for your opinion. I like jangly guitars and country-tinged harmonies. I don’t like being force-fed leftist sloganeering.
  3. I saw a VH1 special in which Michael Stipe couldn’t hold a tune singing along to “Brandy” by the Looking Glass while he rode in the back of a limousine. He then insisted the song was misogynistic because it said “what a good wife you would be”. If you ever needed an illustration of a limousine liberal, save that image.
  4. I grew up. Part of being young an really “into” music as a young man is the desire to identify your tribe. I never really was a conformist in that I liked big band, jazz, country and classical. But my persona was the guy who could pretend he knew what Stipe was singing.  As you get older and have some more real life experience behind you, it is less critical to identify with anything but your own perfectly flawed self.

So there you have it. I still like the music of Chronic Town, Murmur, Fables of the Reconstruction, Life’s Rich Pageant, Dead Letter Office, Document (particularly that one), Green, Out of Time, Monster, Automatic for the People. I just don’t care if you know that I do.