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Why R.E.M. Don't Get The Credit They Deserve

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by firepile, Nov 3, 2021.

  1. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Washington, DC

    This tread inspired me to play my entire REM collection yesterday. Gotta love working from home. I went to their site to take a look at the t shirts and they are as you describe.
  2. Guy E

    Guy E Senior Member

    Antalya, Turkey
    Even here in Turkey, I see Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures image on T-shirts, on a regular basis. 90% of the time (or more) the wearer of said T-shirt has never heard Joy Division.
    Neonbeam and Man at C&A like this.
  3. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    As it should be! Such a great design. The music isn't for everyone.
    Two of Diamonds and Guy E like this.
  4. Guy E

    Guy E Senior Member

    Antalya, Turkey
    I saw a middle aged man wearing a Joe Henderson In 'n Out T-shirt a couple of months ago and said (in Turkish), "Joe Henderson is great!" He had no idea what I was talking about. The celebration of pornographic typography transcends national borders.

  5. rlj1010

    rlj1010 Forum Resident

    Coral Springs, FL
    It does seem like we're all judging a band's lasting impact based on today's youth wearing (or not wearing) a legacy group's t-shirt.

    I see countless Stones' tongues... and the aforementioned Joy Division shirt.... and the Nirvana smiley-face shirt... and Ramones logo shirt... and AC/DC logo shirts...

    But I think most of the youth wearing them have absolutely no idea about the music. It's purely fashion. They strictly just like the designs.

    Like others said, R.E.M., great as they were, never had an instantly identifyable logo, so they lose out today. I don't see many wearing U2 shirts either.
    JoeRockhead likes this.
  6. Laibach

    Laibach дневник старог момка


    Band T-shirs are a great example, an indicator of a band's relevance. Remember we're not judging here the quality of R.E.M.'s music, by relevance I mean a band that's always going to win over the minds and hearts of people. I'm a fan, I treasure the bands's entire discography, but what happens after I die?

    R.E.M. doesn't need fans, it already has fans. It needs champions. It needs Generation Y and Generation Z to embrace the band's image just as they have embraced others. I don't care about Depeche More (my apologies) but I do hear "Personal Jesus" much more often and in many more places than I hear any R.E.M. song (including "Losing my religion").

    I don't buy the argument that "the band is in a different league so it need not worry about T-shrts". That's precisely the kind of thinking that has prevented the band from achieving wider awareness and recognition. Arrogance is not going to win us any new fans nor any new champions.

    The band needs more people championing its cause.
    Man at C&A likes this.
  7. Stillin Rockville

    Stillin Rockville pick a card, any card... wrong!

    a farm in Iowa
    This is turning into a kind of self justification or a quest for reflected immortality- "if the kids like my old favorites that means I was right back in 1986 (or 1991, or 2003)". I think if living forever was something the band members themselves had sought they would have been a different band and we might not have cared so much whether the youth wear "Lifes Rich Pageant" merch.

    as the man said, "everything dies, baby that's a fact". He only said "*maybe* everything that dies someday comes back"
    davers likes this.
  8. JoeRockhead

    JoeRockhead Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    I can't believe people on here think REM needs 'saving'.
    elgoodo likes this.
  9. ModernDayWarrior

    ModernDayWarrior Forum Resident

    Rahway, NJ, USA
    I still have mine that I got outside of Madison Square Garden in 1995.
  10. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Louisville, KY
    Losing My Religion has 722 million streams on Spotify (by comparison, the biggest U2 song has 628 million, the biggest Stones song is 642 million and LMR's only 2 million below The Beatles' top streaming song) and 900m views on YouTube. You might personally not like the song, but stats speak for themselves, it absolutely is in "that song" territory putting your personal preferences aside
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2021
    twicks, Neonbeam and PhoenixWoman like this.
  11. markreed

    markreed Forum Resident

    The "stats" show that LMR is absolutely an outlier, "A Month Of Saturdays" has only 5.5k views on the official REM Channel.
  12. Drifter

    Drifter AD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    Jack Lord and firepile like this.
  13. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    Perhaps REM is a band that one needed to experience in a certain atmosphere to fully appreciate?
    I've tried a few times through the years, borrowing bud's albums to spin.
    No success so far. They just leave me cold.
    I do like some tracks, mostly later hits.
    But mainly just find them dull.
    Not a hater, but after a few tracks it's sorta feels like watching paint dry.
    Neonbeam likes this.
  14. Spencer R

    Spencer R Forum Resident

    Oxford, MS
  15. Remurmur

    Remurmur Music is THE BEST! -FZ

    That is an excellent point that Bill was emphatic that they not break up on his account and that did put them in a difficult situation. . It's just that the post-Bill studio albums never really won me over, occasional tracks excepted. I find UP overall kind of lackluster. Same with Reveal and Around The Sun. I say that realizing that all three have its fans so I do want to stress that it's just my perception.

    Having said that, I still loved the band after Bill left and in fact, saw them twice afterwards and thoroughly enjoyed them both times. But IMO, they truly did become a three legged dog in that they had to find a new way to remain mobile and move forward without Bill's influence. And I feel that new perception of the band and subsequent output did have an impact in determining their post break-up legacy, unfairly or not.
    Dantalian's Toes likes this.
  16. Remurmur

    Remurmur Music is THE BEST! -FZ

    I am very impressed with the fact that Peter still wants to make music, whether with The Minus Five, Robyn Hitchcock, Filthy Friends, Arthur Buck, or his own solo albums. He certainly does not need to financially and I think that it's very cool that he's quite content to play live in small clubs and even bars with whatever band he happens to be playing with, usually as a sideman.

    The guy still loves music and he still loves to play. How can you not love that ?
  17. Remurmur

    Remurmur Music is THE BEST! -FZ

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion here and I certainly respect that.

    No one is asking me to agree, however....

    My take would be that Peter Buck found a way to employ midtempo acoustic strumming with basic arpeggios in a way that was truly unique and compelling.
  18. markreed

    markreed Forum Resident

    I mean, you've gotta be realistic, right? Even if the band you love is a band you love, you can't pretend they are huge and cool .... when they aren't.

    > insert Homer Simpson saying "YOU GUYS KNOW GRAND FUNK?" <
    Neonbeam and Remurmur like this.
  19. Remurmur

    Remurmur Music is THE BEST! -FZ

    I guess it boils down to ...I like what I like and what I like is not predetermined by anyone elses concept on whether it is popular, cool, artistic, or relevant .

    I think that a happy consequence of being a serious music listener/lover and an amateur guitarist for several decades is that I have developed my own personal sense of taste that seems to work for me.

    And for the record. I happen to love the bong rattling bass of Mel Schacher !...:winkgrin:
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
    pocketcalculator likes this.
  20. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Follower of Hi-Fi

    New Mexico USA
    This point of contention is in many ways the master narrative of this forum.

    Once much of the popular music you loves moves (or “fades”) into the past, given the fact that pop music power is perennially centered on the excitement of newness, present-tense hitmaker hugeness, and youth energy, how do you adjust?

    Golden age nostalgia, antiquarian collection, fussy catalog curation and ranking, reactionary assertions of generational decline of the familiar “new music sucks” or “actually the kids love Led Zep more than Halsey” variety — all of these defensive stances are very compelling but each of them can also be a kind of trap. And the struggle over this stuff gets played out over and over in threads like this one, including, for example, the discussion in “The Kinks’ Diminishing Importance Over Time?” thread.

    The consequences of the music you love no longer being “huge and cool” can be quite psychologically unnerving.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
  21. hophedd

    hophedd Forum Resident

    Michael mumbled.

    Stone Turntable likes this.
  22. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    New York City
    Judging from comments, it seems like the majority of posters here are in the over-40 crowd. I don't know why that is, but "rock" as a genre has been diminishing in popularity for the last 25 years, so it's not a surprise that the people who want to endlessly dissect many aspects of their favorite artists are on the downward slope of life. (I have also heard it claimed that this is an "audiophile" forum, which may explain why it's geared more towards Boomer and Gen-X tastes - once the cassette became the best-selling format, audio fidelity (whatever it means) was destined to be the pursuit of a diminishing group of people. MP3s just nailed the coffin shut.)

    By the time I hit my twenties, I was no longer surprised that the artists I loved (mostly originally from what was then the "underground", though some became hugely popular) were not recognized for their greatness by the majority of my peers, and certainly not by my elders, no matter how loudly I played the songs to them, and I had accepted that my tastes were never going to be "cool", and that these bands were never going to be "huge". It was much more of a shock when some of those bands did become huge, and the people who had called me a fag for listening to them a few years before were now high-fiving each other at their concerts.

    So it's been a long time since I was bothered by the fact that the music I loved was ignored, unknown, or rejected by everyone else. Any thoughts about the feelings of those who are unnerved by the diminishing legacy or relevance or whatever of R.E.M., or any band, among the youth today are pure speculation on my part. But I wonder if it is just a reflection or aspect of feelings of personal irrelevance as we approach death. Most of us are never going to become famous, or anything approaching it, and if you are fortunate enough to be recognized in whatever field you work in, that's probably among a small group of people in or around your age group, and there is the awareness that that will fade with time. For the vast majority of people, their importance is maybe recognized by family and friends, if that, and that familiarity tends to mean it mostly goes unspoken.

    But identification with larger figures or institutions in our lives, whether it's sports teams, political figures, or artists, means that we can share a little in their glory, and their reputation is our reputation. If they are losing, I am losing. Diss them, or ignore them, and you are dissing or ignoring me. Why do soccer hooligans want to beat the crap out of fans of the opposing team? Part of it's because they just want to beat someone, anyone, up, but also because wanting another team to win means that person is against them personally. A similar identification (obviously much less violent) may go on with musical artists, particularly ones that made an impact when we were young. Yes, I maybe unknown, but I loved this band (!!!), and they were widely recognized for their greatness, which allowed me to share in their validation by the masses. But if the youth can't see the greatness of this band anymore, what does that say about me?

    Disclaimer: This is not written about anyone in particular, and if it does not describe you, that is because it was not intended to describe you. Again, this is just speculation on my part, but there are enough of these threads like this one here that Stone Turntable's comment made me think a little more about it.
    DolphinsIntheJacuzzi likes this.
  23. Ranzo

    Ranzo Well-Known Member

    Don't know if this has been mentioned, but I think the fact that REM didn't tour their biggest two albums (Out of Time and Automatic for thr People) may have had an affect on how well remembered they are. Can't imagine Springsteen would have had the same amount of recognition if he hadn't toured Born in the USA, or U2 if they hadn't toured the Joshua Tree.
  24. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    I remember their 90s commercial peak but only got to see them live midway through their final tour in 2008 at a big outdoor festival in Ireland. Due to the nature of their work, in a large crowd setting like that the vibe was of warm, comfortable familiarity rather than pure excitement and joy. Most people at the same festival were far more excited to see Rage Against the Machine, another legacy act (with arguably fewer big hits), who were headlining the final night of the weekend. All the people around me enjoyed R.E.M. but lost their minds for R.A.t.M.

    I don't think it has anything to do with putting out forgettable or subpar material later in the career. The singalong stuff endures. Maybe they just were too self-effacing to stay part of the American zeitgeist
    twicks likes this.
  25. twicks

    twicks Forum Resident

    Actually I'd say overpraising it with a 9.3 would make it a letdown to any young who checked it out for the first time.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
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