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Old 09-21-2008, 06:45 AM   #31
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65980, you've written a great post, I can see how much you care about this band just reading it, and I think you might be right asserting REM weren't the kind of guys to go for "the greatest band" title while U2 members are.

Well, you don't hit #1 on the US charts unless you're trying to be big, but I'm sure their early 90s success was quite beyond what they had expected.


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I find Michael's vocal style and voice, which is very personal and recognisable, not very adaptable to different kinds of melodies, I find the band work a little stuck, that's why even if I like them, I wouldn't say I'm one of their fans.

Yeah, his voice is a weird thing. For me, it sounded tougher and had more 'integrity' in the old days, or maybe just the songs' production did. He doesn't have a great range, like Bono, but that voice is so ... unique, that it usually carries the day.

"Not very adaptable" might actually be a good way of describing R.E.M.'s only limitation -- they're kind of a more sophisticated, earthier Oasis; i.e., they do one thing very well. (In their case, classy guitar-pop.)
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:28 AM   #32
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I looove R.EM. The fact that they aren't nearly as popular as U2 doesn't really matter... their music is still very high-quality.
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:48 AM   #33
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Green rocked a bit, but was starting to sound more 'folksy' and pop-friendly, and when they decided (for the first time) not to tour after their next album, and to play some new, folk-inspired instruments while keeping things largely acoustic, they expected to have a fall-off in popularity. Instead, Out of Time (1991) ate the world after "Losing My Religion", a tune with an obscure lyric and a mandolin as lead instrument, climbed up the world's charts.
Oh man! Losing My religion. That's how I got into them, by watching the video on a grammy awards nomination special of all places! I was still living in India at the time and that album Out Of Time was freaking huge there! I had no idea about their college rock past at the time haha. Also got into U2 at around the same time with Achtung and I had no idea about their past either. lol.

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Basically, the R.E.M. guys are modest, Southern gentlemen, and the U2 guys are high-energy global diplomats, always ready for a night on the town.
Great way to sum it up! Awesome post!
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:05 PM   #34
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I love R.E.M. but I just don't think they're as good as our boys from Ireland.

Yes, there is a point to be made that R.E.M. is not a band to "go for it", while U2 sought out the megastardom they received, but I think there's more to it than that.

U2's songs are more spiritual and uplifting, also more emotional. It's why they connect to so many people. R.E.M., who I find to be a great band, can also be a bit alienating sometimes.

But I think the real difference boils down to how they handled their "Experimentation" phase. When U2 did Achtung, Zooropa, and Pop, they went into it full speed ahead and truly made some great, innovative music. When R.E.M. made "Up", it was the sound of a band that didn't know what the hell they were doing. They sounded lost and uninspired. "New Adventures in Hi-Fi" was good, but "Up" totally lost it. Then they followed it up with what can only be described as mediocrity. "Reveal" wasn't as bad as people make it out to be, but I wouldn't call it great by any means and "Around The Sun" really is one of the worst records in recent memory. Truly boring and uninspired.

It felt, for a while at least, like the band didn't even want to make music anymore. R.E.M. began to sound like a job, and that's no good.

However, they seem to be righting the ship. "Accelerate" is not the new R.E.M. classic that reviewers made it out to be, but it is a good record worthy of praise and I'm looking forward to their next release.
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:06 PM   #35
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One reason I couldn't get into R.E.M. as easily as U2 is Stipe's lyrics. I think some of them are great but I do think you can reach a point where there's such a thing as "too vague."

I know, I know, "it's all about what it means to you, man! [/hippie]. But really, there are sometimes when those lyrics just confuse me, even as I try to read deeper meanings into them.
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:24 PM   #36
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u2 and REM both left the 90's in a state of flux, where people weren't sure if they would ever reclaim the status of biggest rock band in the world again. u2's 2001 release was a massive success, allowing them to reclaim their pedestal. REM's 2001 release tanked in america.

i can still see them reuniting with berry and releasing one more great album at some point... but time is running out. i could see stipe going solo and hooking up with like a rick rubin and doing some sort of brooding acoustic record. i'd dig that actually.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:08 PM   #37
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Both are awesome bands, who have chronilogically had similar careers, but purused them very differently.
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