Matt Marrone's Response:
As much as you might want me to, I can't convince you that the new songs are good and I can't force you to like them. I'm a pretty stingy, stubborn critic myself. But in my initial disgust over Around the Sun, I realized in horror that my worst fears had come true -- R.E.M. was no longer truly relevant. At first I was angry, bitter, resentful -- and all around a pretty miserable son of a bitch on certain message boards. But, as the weeks and months passed, I came to terms with it -- and, like many things in life, the worrying was far worse than the reality. I've since found new artists to take R.E.M.'s place on the pedestal, and ever since, I've been perfectly fine winning small battles with the band, without worrying about the greater war.
I think this paragraph sums it up for me. Yes, my heart says that I want R.E.M. to make that last great album and then ride into the sunset just like "The Masked Man" did with Tonto and the Horse. My brain, however, says that the writing is on the wall and that this is not possible so when my heart and brain meet for a summit it's been determined that they just be relevant. And I guess from the songs that have been provided so far is that relevance is not an option, either.
And lastly, between the bullshit 3 month marketing blitz that makes me want to vomit and comments from the bandmembers themselves, which promote the same crap, that by the time this album is going to come out I am going to be so exhausted I will not want to listen to it anyhow.
Ah the joys of blogging!