R.E.M. — “Strange Currencies” (from Monster) — Strange Currencies - Monster

If you missed yesterday’s stunning news that R.E.M. is calling it quits after a mind-blowing three-decade run as one of America’s premier rock bands, I’m sorry to be the one break it to you. (Sherry Ann texted me yesterday afternoon in near hysterics, so knocked flat was she by this staggering announcement.) This profound sense of sadness and loss must be what our parents felt like when they heard the Beatles were disbanding. But just like they always had Yellow Submarine and Sgt. Pepper’s to tickle their memories, so will we always have Out of Time. And Eponymous. And New Adventures in Hi-Fi. And (my own personal favorite) Up. And this 1994 masterpiece that cemented their spot in the sun — at least for a shining, shocking moment — as the world’s best band. With love, indeed, do come strange currencies. (Fare thee well, Michael, Peter, and Mike, and godspeed wherever life may carry you next, friends.) (Incidentally, for newer visitors to this website who have yet to go spelunking back into the archives: in June 2008, just a couple of months after I started this blog, I composed what I consider to be the essential fame-era R.E.M. playlist, and Sherry Ann promised at that time to fill out the picture with a cross-section of the band’s best early work. May this heartbreaking news be the impetus she needs to finally bring that little writing project of hers to full fruition.)

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