Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dull in a hollow sky

I accepted some time ago that R.E.M.'s days of making great records were over, but even I was taken aback by their latest single. I don't know the title and can't be bothered to look it up, but it consists of Stipey chanting tunelessly while the rest of the band play 'The Passenger' by Iggy Pop (who may or may not be credited on the label). If this record were by Natasha Bedingfield or Akon, I'd shrug and turn the radio off. As it was, I felt insulted: Do they expect me to believe this is the best they can do?

Actually, maybe it is. Now that I think of it, this isn't the first time they've done this sort of thing. Up, the album that propelled them gently but decisively over the shark's fin, includes a track that 'contains elements of' Leonard Cohen's 'Suzanne' -- the 'elements' in question being the entire tune and some of the lyrics.

Has their inspiration dried up, or can they just not be bothered any more? Either way, I can be sure that if and when they break up, it won't affect me in the slightest. That's a sad thing to say about what used to be my favourite band.


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