REM was more than the soundtrack to my youth. It was the Muzak, the party mix, the cover band. It was just one of those sounds that was always around. Growing up in Knoxville in the ’80s it seemed like everyone knew someone who’d had some kind of run-in with the band: their cousin spent a drunken night with one of the members, or their friend just happened to be at the 40 Watt when the band played a surprise show, or their roommate got to meet them at some raggedy stop on a dog-legged tour through the Southeast. That being said, I shed my tears for the band a long time ago. I’d say it started for me around GREEN. I’ve liked a few singles since then, but nothing touches their output before DOCUMENT to me. Maybe I’m just contrary, but LIFES RICH PAGEANT has always been one of my favorites. Every time I hear it I feel like I’m fifteen again, hanging out some friend’s car window on a back road way too late at night screaming, “Swan Swan Hummingbiiiiiiird, Hurrah!”. I have to hand it to them; those guys made it down a pretty long road themselves. So no tears, just love. I’m sure they’ll begin something good again.