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Old 08-30-2012, 05:24 PM   #801
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Stipe being gay didn't bother me in the slightest way. But to the typical 'merican Joe six pack, it just wasn't "COOL" or "TOUGH" or "AMERICAN" to like REM.
They had pretty much already lost this crowd before Stipe's official coming out.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:38 PM   #802
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I hope I didn't offend anybody with my 'merican stereotype comments. In rural Ohio, where I live, it's just something I unfortunately see a lot of. If it's not country or classic rock, it's "gay", according to some.

Like I said, I saw them in both 03 and 04. I must say that while the Around the Sun songs were certainly low points of the 04 concert, I still thought it was the better of the 2. Could've been the intimacy of a theater vs. a large outdoor amphitheater, or that I was familiar with more of their songs. Missed them in 08 b/c the nearest they came to me was Chicago. I always figured I'd get another chance to see them. Oh well, I have 2 great shows to look back on, as well as 30 years of great music!

27 September 2003 - Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
set: Begin The Begin / What's The Frequency, Kenneth? / Pop Song 89 / Drive / Animal / Cuyahoga / Fall On Me / Bad Day / The One I Love / Strange Currencies / Beat A Drum / Orange Crush / Losing My Religion / Find The River / She Just Wants To Be / Walk Unafraid / Man On The Moon
encore: Everybody Hurts / Nightswimming / Final Straw / Imitation Of Life / It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)


27 October 2004 - Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH
set: Around The Sun / Finest Worksong / Begin The Begin / Exhuming McCarthy / Animal / Boy In The Well / Cuyahoga / High Speed Train / Drive / Electron Blue / The One I Love / Bad Day / I Wanted To Be Wrong / Imitation Of Life / Final Straw / Losing My Religion / Walk Unafraid / Life And How To Live It
encore: What's The Frequency, Kenneth? / Leaving New York / Sweetness Follows / Permanent Vacation / I'm Gonna DJ / Man On The Moon
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:49 PM   #803
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I hope I didn't offend anybody with my 'merican stereotype comments. In rural Ohio, where I live, it's just something I unfortunately see a lot of. If it's not country or classic rock, it's "gay", according to some.
Yeah, I don't see why everyone is jumping on you for this comment. I've encountered that type of attitude as well. I can think of several posters on these boards who would probably disown U2 if Bono were to come out as gay.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:07 PM   #804
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No, they'd think it was just fine, unless he wanted to marry his male partner in the US.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:30 PM   #805
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Yeah, I don't see why everyone is jumping on you for this comment. I've encountered that type of attitude as well. I can think of several posters on these boards who would probably disown U2 if Bono were to come out as gay.
It has nothing to do with pointing out that attitude, and more to do with ignoring the fact that R.E.M.'s artsy vibe and Stipe's appearance/persona would have turned off homophobes long before any supposed coming out. This had NOTHING to do with a decline in popularity.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:42 PM   #806
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It has nothing to do with pointing out that attitude, and more to do with ignoring the fact that R.E.M.'s artsy vibe and Stipe's appearance/persona would have turned off homophobes long before any supposed coming out. This had NOTHING to do with a decline in popularity.
You're right. I was just basing my statement on the fact that REM's popularity, to me anyway, seemed to fade in the late 90s, around the time Stipe came out. I was in high school at the time, so it seemed to me to be the cause.

When did REM begin to lose their footing? Was it Monster? I know that Monster sold a bunch of copies, but was it actually very well received, or was it's success a carryover from the previous albums?
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:01 PM   #807
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One could point to Hi-Fi as the beginning of the slide, because E-Bow The Letter, great as it is, was a terrible choice for a lead single. Not touring for the album didn't help either. Up's attempt to lure back the Out of Time/Automatic crowd with Daysleeper, but it was pretty much over at that point.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:30 PM   #808
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One could point to Hi-Fi as the beginning of the slide, because E-Bow The Letter, great as it is, was a terrible choice for a lead single. Not touring for the album didn't help either. Up's attempt to lure back the Out of Time/Automatic crowd with Daysleeper, but it was pretty much over at that point.
Yeah, I don't know if the stats/record sales back it up, but, if memory serves, this is when a lot of casual REM fan friends of mine started to check out, and I could not convince them of the greatness of Hi-Fi.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:35 PM   #809
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Hi-Fi was a gift to more hardcore R.E.M. fans, drawing elements from nearly their entire history. To casual fans, probably just sounded like a mess.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:37 PM   #810
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Hi-Fi was a gift to more hardcore R.E.M. fans, drawing elements from nearly their entire history. To casual fans, probably just sounded like a mess.
Hi-Fi is easily my favorite of theirs post-IRS, but it only became so after my taste had matured, for lack of a better term. Looking at it now, though, I wonder how much different Hi-Fi is from something like Automatic. I'd say Electrolite and Bittersweet Me are as catchy as anything on Automatic, and Hi-Fi has the advantage of lacking real clunkers the likes of which are found on Automatic.

I think any hyper-popular album is as much about timing as it is about songcraft, so perhaps Automatic just tapped into the zeitgeist in a serendipitous sort of way. Because it seems tough to me to make the argument that, with over a decade of retrospection, Automatic is a superior album to Hi-Fi.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:31 PM   #811
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Hi-Fi could lose Wake Up Bomb, Departure, Zither, Bittersweet Me and Binky and I wouldn't notice or care. Two weak rockers that pale next to Kenneth, two songs that sound like replications of better songs on the same album, and one throwaway instrumental. 65 minutes is almost always too long anyhow. I'll go to bat for E Bow, Leave and New Test Leper any day, but to say there aren't any "clunkers" on Hi-Fi is to ignore how much material simply isn't anything to write home about.

Automatic also has perhaps the finest closing duo (hell, trio) I could name. The album is perfect for 15 minutes straight.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:32 AM   #812
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Monster sold well, but I don't remember much of anyone I knew who were REM fans actually liking the damn thing (whereas I remember quite a few of my friends who were REM fans being relieved by how much they liked HiFi). In the late '90's / early 2000's, every used CD store I visited seemed to have 20+ copies of Monster on hand at all times. I remember it was one of those CDs you could get considerably cheaper than other albums, because everyone was constantly trying to return it.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:18 AM   #813
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Hi-Fi could lose Wake Up Bomb, Departure, Zither, Bittersweet Me and Binky and I wouldn't notice or care. Two weak rockers that pale next to Kenneth, two songs that sound like replications of better songs on the same album, and one throwaway instrumental. 65 minutes is almost always too long anyhow. I'll go to bat for E Bow, Leave and New Test Leper any day, but to say there aren't any "clunkers" on Hi-Fi is to ignore how much material simply isn't anything to write home about.

Automatic also has perhaps the finest closing duo (hell, trio) I could name. The album is perfect for 15 minutes straight.

None of those Hi-Fi songs you mentioned are anywhere near as bad as Ignoreland.

I've really grown to like Binky the Doormat and don't see what other song it sounds like. Zither is a diversion and don't know why it should be cut on an eclectic album about travel and movement

Bittersweet Me is definitely a waste of time though.
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Old 08-31-2012, 06:20 AM   #814
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Hi-Fi could lose Wake Up Bomb, Departure, Zither, Bittersweet Me and Binky and I wouldn't notice or care. Two weak rockers that pale next to Kenneth, two songs that sound like replications of better songs on the same album, and one throwaway instrumental. 65 minutes is almost always too long anyhow.
I think even Stipe alluded to this during an Accelerate interview how the 90's became a time when artists were putting out really long bloated albums just because the format allowed it, and how they fell victim to this trend as well.

I pretty much agree with your take on Hi-Fi, it would probably be one of my favorites except that it had too many songs that I skip. I really like Wake Up but it doesn't fit, just sounds like a Monster left over. I can bare Bettersweet Me, but the others I can't even force myself to listen to anymore.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:19 AM   #815
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I like Bittersweet Me and Wake Up Bomb, but will admit they do sound like Monster leftovers. Though if someone talks smack about So Fast So Numb, I will fight them.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:10 PM   #816
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I love Wake Up Bomb.

That whole album is their best post-IRS one by far. It is a bit too long, but I honestly am not sure what exactly I would cut.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:06 PM   #817
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I loved HiFi. Plenty of good tracks on there. How the West Was Won, E-Bow, Undertow, Leave, Bittersweet Me and Wake Up Bomb to a name a bunch. I liked this album better than Up.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:20 PM   #818
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Monster sold well, but I don't remember much of anyone I knew who were REM fans actually liking the damn thing (whereas I remember quite a few of my friends who were REM fans being relieved by how much they liked HiFi). In the late '90's / early 2000's, every used CD store I visited seemed to have 20+ copies of Monster on hand at all times. I remember it was one of those CDs you could get considerably cheaper than other albums, because everyone was constantly trying to return it.
I remember EP (more flashbacks!) posting some list of statisticallly most often returned albums, or most likely to find in a bargin bin, and monster being quite high on the list. I never had a problem with it.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:20 PM   #819
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I love Wake Up Bomb.
Me too. And bittersweet me. I like both of them a lot.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:55 PM   #820
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I have very fond memories of Monster, and will stand by Kenneth, Strange Currencies, and Bang & Blame as great songs.
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