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Old 09-24-2011, 03:41 AM   #211
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Absolute bollocks, numbers.

He "came out" in 2001. New Adventures and Up both had relatively average sales. In fact I'd say REM album sales have steadily declined since the lofty heights of Automatic For The People.

REM just became a less and less attractive proposition for mainstream exposure. That's why their commercial success waned. Their image was not congruent with anything capable of such success. Whether Stipe was a known gay or not is irrelevant.

On the other side of the coin, their musical output (since '97) has proved widely unfavourable amongst critics and within channels that are popular with alternative/indie audiences (JJJ in Australia especially).

They got stuck in that vacuum where they weren't commercially exceptional nor critically exceptional... Not that they really seemed to care anyway.

Most artists get into that vacuum. Travis and Strokes are two artists who have similarly experienced such a diminishing. It's just the duration of REM's career and their legendary-ness magnifies their diminishing somewhat.
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Old 09-24-2011, 03:47 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by intedomine View Post
Absolute bollocks, numbers.

He "came out" in 2001. New Adventures and Up both had relatively average sales. In fact I'd say REM album sales have steadily declined since the lofty heights of Automatic For The People.

REM just became a less and less attractive proposition for mainstream exposure. That's why their commercial success waned. Their image was not congruent with anything capable of such success. Whether Stipe was a known gay or not is irrelevant.

On the other side of the coin, their musical output (since '97) has proved widely unfavourable amongst critics and within channels that are popular with alternative/indie audiences (JJJ in Australia especially).

They got stuck in that vacuum where they weren't commercially exceptional nor critically exceptional... Not that they really seemed to care anyway.

Most artists get into that vacuum. Travis and Strokes are two artists who have similarly experienced such a diminishing. It's just the duration of REM's career and their legendary-ness magnifies their diminishing somewhat.
Nothing in your closed-minded post counters anything I stated (the point we're discussing wasn't my argument to begin with -- I just commented on it). I agree with everything you say, as I've already stated, except for the "coming out" part. You're wrong -- Stipe was open about being gay as early as 1995-ish (I can't be arsed to look it up), exactly coinciding with the beginning of R.E.M.'s (relative) decline in popularity.

A little less aggression and a little more consideration would be appreciated.
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Old 09-24-2011, 03:50 AM   #213
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Having attempted to look this up, I should correct myself -- Stipe preferred to define himself as "queer" (not gay, as such) as early as 1994, and he appeared on the cover of Out magazine in 1995. (Which, by the way, is the last year R.E.M. had huge sales in the US.)
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Old 09-24-2011, 03:59 AM   #214
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I think one data point and vaguely gesturing towards declining sales is flimsy support, but it occurs to me we can test something:

Quote:
If there was ever a "gayer" video than George Michael's "Faith", I've never seen it, but it was the #1 single of the year in the US. Yet, after his forced outage, he dropped off the US charts completely while selling more records than ever in Europe and Britain. A lot of the "arty" or slightly queer stuff passes a lot of people by.
was there a similar unusual crash in REM sales in the US compared to the rest of the world?
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:16 AM   #215
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21st century, go to sleep.
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:25 AM   #216
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I thought R.E.M. had a white liberal (progressing to yuppie) fanbase that would be understanding of these sorts of things? No reason to think that, of all bands, R.E.M. would be shunned for Stipe's sexual orientation.

The more significant factor is that they stopped writing hits.
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:37 AM   #217
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Originally Posted by mobvok View Post
was there a similar unusual crash in REM sales in the US compared to the rest of the world?
Yes, extremely so, and R.E.M. were very frustrated by it.

To summarize, since some people have mis-interpreted me by lazy reading (not for the first time) -- I agree that the main reasons for R.E.M.'s sales decline have nothing to do with the relatively trivial matter of Stipe's being "queer", but the point was brought up by The Acrobat and I thought it was an interesting perspective, being as there is considerable evidence to support it. That is all.
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:45 AM   #218
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I thought R.E.M. had a white liberal (progressing to yuppie) fanbase that would be understanding of these sorts of things?
You're probably right -- but R.E.M.'s fanbase grew to include all sorts of right-wing nutjobs, losers, racists, homophobes, and idiots of all sorts in the years 1991 to 1995. That's the only way you can sell ten million (or whatever) of a pop album.

Perhaps we could say that after 1995, their fanbase reverted back to the same size it always was in the late 80s. And maybe their supporters remained these white liberals of which you speak.


About not writing hits, I think that was mainly in the US-market alone. Consider these chart positions:

E-Bow the Letter -- US#49 / UK#4
Daysleeper -- US#57 / Canada #5 / UK#6
At My Most Beautiful -- US (didn't chart at all) / UK#10
The Great Beyond -- US#57 / UK#3
Imitation of Life -- US#86 / UK#3
Bad Day -- US (didn't chart at all) / Canada#17 / UK#8
Leaving New York -- US (didn't chart at all) / UK#5
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:51 AM   #219
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:26 AM   #220
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It was in 2001 when he "came out" as a homosexual 659180, but it still seems irrelevant (given that REM's success diminished globally - not just in the USA, where some buyers may boycott something because of an association with homosexuality), so I'm not gonna interrogate the issue anymore. You are truly unbelievable.
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:09 AM   #221
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That song that Pearl Jam covered (earlier on in this thread) is an indication that the songwriting was still very telling right to the very end

Even though the delivery, production, arrangement was not there in the studio, it was still good songwriting

Anyway Im sure someone mentioned this before, but R.E.M was forgotten in Australia especially the alternative radio station (triple J) as triple J moved in a strange direction and forgot the roots of what made it such a revolutionary radio station in the first place!
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:12 PM   #222
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There is no way to prove whether homophobia diminished R.E.M.'s standing in the US, but the suggestion that it may have is far from ridiculous, in my mind. The US is still a reprehensibly homophobic society - that includes bisexuals - and, if Stipe did indeed come out in 95 (appearing on the cover of Out is as good as coming out), that would not have sit well with the priapic, meat-head culture of MTV and popular radio of the time. It may have been a factor in their popularity decline in the US - not the defining factor, but a factor nonetheless.
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:55 PM   #223
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I think it's ridiculous to suggest there's a correlation between that and diminishing sales.
I disagree. It is how people, some not the most enlightened, perceive him.
I just wonder if average Joe relates to him as much after he comes out. I would say no.

Go ahead slam me, that just my opinion.
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:59 PM   #224
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REM just became a less and less attractive proposition for mainstream exposure.
Great point. It is possible that also that the speed toward celebrity that consumed the 1990s had imploded by the year 2000.
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Old 09-24-2011, 02:19 PM   #225
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
You're probably right -- but R.E.M.'s fanbase grew to include all sorts of right-wing nutjobs, losers, racists, homophobes, and idiots of all sorts in the years 1991 to 1995. That's the only way you can sell ten million (or whatever) of a pop album.
Yeah, I'm having a hard time believing all those types you listed were into this:

R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People [HQ video] +Sub english/spanish (on/off) - YouTube
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