Yesterday's news that REM was calling it quits after three decades came as a shock to fans and non-fans alike. Here was a band that we all grew up with (or, at least, those of us who grew up in the last 30 years did) that held on for so long, then dropped it out of the blue. I'm a huge fan of bands breaking up when they aren't feeling it, especially bands with a huge financial incentive to stay together. But I can also appreciate the fact that many folks are feeling awful over losing one of America's finest and most enduring rock groups. So I asked a handful of local musicians to tell me about their favorite REM song. Here's what I got back.
My REAL favorite REM song is "Cuyahoga" from Life's Rich Pageant, my favorite record by them as it was their first record of theirs that I purchased and saw a tour of (with Camper Van Beethoven), which knocked me on my ass once I connected the dots from LP to live. It was in this song that I found myself singing along to: "Cuya-holga," not knowing what the hell that was but somehow feeling something very real as a teen, only later discovering what it was on a high school band trip to Ohio, which really sent me over the moon with pride somehow.
However, I'm trying to give the later era REM some props because there were so many great songs I feel like some snobs wrote off, which I guess is a testament to how important they are to music fans in a way.
Anyways, I love "Find the River" from Automatic for the People; "At My Most Beautiful" from UP, "UBerlin" from what I guess is their last record, next to a greatest hits. REM's ballads are just stunning, the delivery from Michael is always believable to me, especially when it's mixed with Peter and Mikes' (and, I imagine, Scott's!) melodies and progressions. —Chris Funk (The Decemberists, Black Prairie)
Everybody Hurts is the one for me. It contributed to many teen emo moments of mine, sniffling back tears, contemplating the insurmountable challenges of being 15. âDanielle Sullivan (Wild Ones)