Last Wednesday afternoon my father sent me an email with a link to the REM homepage, with the news that the band was a band no more.
As I've already mentioned once, during my teens I was a big fan of their music. My very first own CD was Out of Time, and my second was Automatic for the People - I was 15 years old and worked crazy hours as a typist to save the u$s 20 each cost, and unlike the few other things I worked hard to pay for in those days, I still own them. During most of that decade their music was my soundtrack, and when I started browsing the web in the warm summer nights of January 1996, it was to look for their lyrics and news about them. I owe REM a lot... my early internet literacy skills, my enthusiasm to learn English, some (maybe a lot, maybe not so much) of my artistic sensibility, a good stack of CD's I don't plan to part ways with, ever.
In January 2001 they played in Buenos Aires and I jumped the pond with my then boyfriend to see them, and though the show was fantastic it marked the decline of both my fandom and relationship (how odd). When Reveal was issued later that year I bought it - with my hard earned money, yes, but at least I had a steady job and wasn't juggling lunch and bus fares money. I even put the show ticket inside the CD box (right over the song list). But that was the last of REM I heard in a long time.
Exactly why I stopped listening to REM is something I can't really explain. I admit I got a little irked with everything and everyone from the US with their troops going to Irak and Afghanistan (unfair, I know). My husband, who came into my life in 2002, doesn't really like their music. And... I don't know, they're not background music anymore, wafting from the speakers in the house at all hours of day and night.
Interestingly enough, that's a void no other band filled. Who knows, maybe I should unpack the box with CD's and give those a good listening. I'm sure they will all have passed the test of time, with honors.