Tuesday, 4 February 2014



Though R.E.M. formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980, Mike Mills (born December 17, 1958) and Bill Berry (born July 31, 1958) were the only Southerners in the group. Both had attended high school together in Macon, playing in a number of bands during their teens. Michael Stipe (born January 4, 1960) was a military brat, moving throughout the country during his childhood. By his teens, he had discovered punk rock through Patti Smith, Television, and Wire, and began playing in cover bands in St. Louis. By 1978, he had begun studying art at the University of Georgia in Athens, where he began frequenting the Wuxtry record store. Peter Buck (born December 6, 1956), a native of California, was a clerk at Wuxtry. Buck had been a fanatical record collector, consuming everything from classic rock to punk and free jazz, and was just beginning to learn how to play guitar. Discovering they had similar tastes, Buck and Stipe began working together, eventually meeting Berry and Mills through a mutual friend. In April of 1980, the band formed to play a party for their friend, rehearsing a number of garage, psychedelic bubblegum, and punk covers in an converted Episcopalian church. At the time, the group was played under the name the Twisted Kites. By the summer, the band had settled on the name R.E.M. after flipping randomly through the dictionary, and had met Jefferson Holt, who became their manager after witnessing the group's first out-of-state concert in North Carolina.

R.E.M. marked the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. When their first single, "Radio Free Europe," was released in 1981, it sparked a back-to-the-garage movement in the American underground. While there were a number of hardcore and punk bands in the U.S. during the early '80s, R.E.M. brought guitar pop back into the underground lexicon. Combining ringing guitar hooks with mumbled, cryptic lyrics and a D.I.Y. aesthetic borrowed from post-punk, the band simultaneously sounded traditional and modern. Though there were no overt innovations in their music, R.E.M. had an identity and sense of purpose that transformed the American underground. Throughout the '80s, they worked relentlessly, releasing records every year and touring constantly, playing both theaters and backwoods dives. Along the way, they inspired countless bands, from the legions of jangle pop groups in the mid-'80s to scores of alternative pop groups in the '90s, who admired their slow climb to stardom.

Unexpectedly, in September 2011, the band announced its amicable breakup after 31 years together. Immediately after the split, the band issued a double disc compilation entitled, Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage: 1982-2011, covering both their years at IRS and Warner. 



Righting themselves via their long-awaited return to rock Accelerate, R.E.M. regrouped and rediscovered their core strengths as a band, strengths they build upon on its 2011 sequel, Collapse into Now. Cautiously moving forward from Accelerate’s Life's Rich Pageant blueprint, R.E.M. steer themselves toward the pastoral, acoustic moments of Out of Time and Automatic for the People without quite leaving behind the tight, punchy rockers that fueled Accelerate’s race to the end zone. This broadening of the palette is as deliberate as Accelerate’s reduction of R.E.M. to ringing Rickenbackers, and while it occasionally feels as if the bandmembers sifted through their past to find appropriate blueprints for new songs, there is merit to their madness. R.E.M. embrace their past to the extent that they disdain the modern, reveling in their comfortable middle age even if they sometimes slip into geezerhood, with Michael Stipe spending more than one song wondering about kids these days. He’s not griping; he’s merely accepting his age, which is kind of what R.E.M. do as a band here, too. Over a tight 41 minutes, they touch upon all the hallmarks from when Bill Berry still anchored the band, perhaps easing up on the jangle but devoting plenty of space to rough-hewn acoustics and mandolin, rushing rock & roll, and wide-open, eerie mood pieces that sound like rewrites of “E-Bow the Letter.” Any slight element of recycling is offset by craft so skilled it almost seems casual. This may impart a lack of urgency to Collapse into Now but it also means that it delivers R.E.M. sounding like R.E.M., something that has been in short supply since the departure of Berry.

Review by


When I watched this video for the first time, I have to say I found it strange. It wasn't what I expected. But now I can admit that this video is positively surprising. I really like the editing because it is teasing. When you watch a succession of short shots it's maybe confusing but it's really interesting at the same time because you try to make a link between each image. As I said, the editing is very well done, indeed the videoclip begins with the image of an eye looking at every directions and it ends with the image of a computer recording its image in the miror, we have the impression to get lost in the computer. The person who was staring at us is now watched by us, this is quite funny. From the beginning to the end we can see Amateur extracts videos in which people have shot themselves dancing, disguising, making up etc., but also people have filmed their diary life like the striking moment when birds were enclosed in a living room, or when a cat was jumping on a wall... Sometimes we see the same persons two or three times, it gives us the impression of the crescendo and decresendo heard in the song. I believe that this is a good illustration of the song itself. Because the song is full of strange metaphors - as weird as the images are - and more over the melody makes me trip to a dreamy world with all these extravagant people.


We can relate this video to the Idea of Progress because thanks to new technologies we can have an access to these videos directly on our computers. People can share their lives thanks to it and it's a really good progress in my opinion.

We can also make a link between this videoclip and the notion Space & Exchanges, indeed, nowadays Internet is considered as a virtual space in which every user is free to share whatever he wants to and interact with other users. Moreover this is a powerful (Location and Forms of Power) place, nowadays most of our diary life is related to the Internet, we can do almost whatever we want. Personally it makes me feel stronger. 

There is a reference with the notion Myths & Heroes. As we can see in the different shots, people are playing, they are disguising, becoming a new person, they are a kind of a character, an new heroe through their point of you. The magic trick can be judged as a myth if we think that this is a fake one.