For the record regarding those on both sides of the aisle regarding the new R.E.M. album is that the commentary will continue.
I would argue after listening to this album a couple times is that it would probably not be as much a "Return to Form" or their "Classic Sound" but a band that is breaking with it's fans and moving onto a younger generation or a different generation.
Listening to the band well over 20 years, I am probably coming from this from a different point of view all my own that some of you might understand and appreciate and others will want to spit at the computer screen with.
Truth be known, if I was 16 years old, I might find this new album to be pretty amazing stuff and I say might because being 16 in 1988 was much different than being 16 in 2011.
I had questioned whether to continue this site, these reviews or this commentary with that New York Mets fan commonly known as Matt Marrone. What I am finding with the listening experience has been a clearer understanding of what R.E.M. meant to me, what it means to grow up in this 21st Century world of ours and well, to provide a different voice.
There is no doubt that I have accepted the direction that R.E.M. has chosen to take. They are in a predicament all their own, with their own pressures of having to sell albums, touring, doing promo work.
I was reading a story by one Jim Derogatis about a fake Twitter account @MayorEmanuel. The author of said account outed himself and ended up being one Dan Sinker, a colleage of Jim's at Columbia College here in Chicago. Outside of the fact that I think that Dero got it all wrong, I was bothered by a linked story in the Chicago Tribune that quoted a student of Sinkers who was surprised that her professor ended up being Fake Emanuel.
"I squealed when I found out," said Mirretti, who had Sinker for an introduction to journalism class last semester. "It's so crazy, I can't believe it."
Mirretti said she didn't even know who Emanuel was until she discovered the fake Emanuel posts. She signed up for the feed immediately.
"I would have voted for him just because of that fake Twitter account," she said.
What really bugged me more about this story was how a journalism student in the City of Chicago does not know who Rahm Emanuel is. For those of you that do not know, Rahm Emanuel was just elected the next Mayor of the City of Chicago and if someone studying for a degree in a profession that reports on the news I wonder how she is going to report if she does not know what the news is.
How this relates back to R.E.M. is whether complex subjects are worthwhile to even discuss in a song or have we become so self-absorbed in our little lives not to really realize what is going around us. We are tweeting and Facebooking about Charlie Sheen and working on our Farmville rather than knowing what countries have had revolutions within the past month or two.
And what I see from many fans that have commented to me is that I have not heard 1 single word why this album is good and what it provides to them. It just feels like we are being sold the same line that a certain song sounds like (Insert Album Title Here), but its not the sound that sells me on a particular song.
If Coca Cola changes it's formula do you still buy it because of the brand? Does the "R.E.M." brand currently exhibit excellence? I don't think so.
I have thought that maybe it's also time after this is over to go back and review some of their older material for some proof to this why those songs will be included in the soundtrack of my life.