And a personal chapter has come to a close. Today R.E.M. officially announced their retirement.
R.E.M was the soundtrack to my happy college years as well as my rather difficult twentysomething period. They were the first group I every waited in line for to get tickets. Magazines, video compilations, T-shirts, rare LPs–I had never thought to search out such band-related tokens until I first heard Lifes Rich Pageant (admittedly making me a little bit of a latecomer) back sophomore year in 1986…and then the absolutely sublime Murmur. And then of course everything else, including purchasing a bootleg cassette of their cover recordings while visiting London to get dumped (and accidentally stumbling upon Prince Charles and Princess attending the royal premiere of Superman IV: Quest for Peace).
Although it had been more than a few years since I last looked forward to a new release, R.E.M. will always be “my band,” that rare group you immediately find your own voice, mark milestones with and recognize as an extension of yourself. There was a time every fall meant a new R.E.M. album, and every fall was better for it.
And so in their memory, here is a Sally Forth strip from a few years back in which I tried to mention the entire track listing from Chronic Town (alas, I simply could not work in one of my very favorite R.E.M. songs, “Gardening at Night”).
Michael, Mike, Bill and Peter–Thank you.
Which leads to today’s question–”How do you think Sally should have responded?” Should she have faked happiness for the couple? Should she have quietly walked away and taken out her rage on a nearby lamp, window or load-bearing wall? Or should she have just said one of the following…