In the same day that I discovered R.E.M. was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I did a complete inventory of my music collection and found that the very same band wins the prize in my own humble studio for occupying the most space on my shelves. This is pretty interesting, actually, that I have 10 of their albums. Second place comes in at a measly 7 albums, so it’s a strong lead. Double digits of R.E.M. Damn straight they should be in the Hall of Fame.
I have this untouchable admiration for the band, and no specific loyalty to the underground years, the pop years, or the mellowed out post-Berry years. Despite the changes, there’s an incredible consistency to their albums and it’s all I can do to hope for more. I was present at the show in Raleigh where Berry performed with the band for the first time since he’d left. I also have a pair of shoes that were a gift to me because of a photo in Rolling Stone in which Stipe sported the very same (pink hightop chucks). I have also not confirmed whether or not he and Natalie Merchant had a relationship back in the day, and as unlikely as it sounds, that would just be so cool too.
And don’t knock their last studio album, Around the Sun – it is an articulate and moving album about change. Next time you are skipping town, have another go and I promise you will enjoy.