This avalanche, I’m not afraid…
No NBA basketball today and little on television that was worth watching (I felt a little weird after watching the So You Think You Can Dance? marathon after about three hours), I flipped through the guide on my satellite to find an R.E.M. HD concert snippet. Needless to say, as a casual R.E.M. fan, I was pumped.
They played most of the classics. Everybody Hurts, The One I Love, Orange Crush, Losing My Religion. You know, the songs that when people reference the great alternative music they will cite without question. They even played some of the new stuff that I can halfway tolerate (namely Imitation of Life and Leaving New York). But then came a curious moment where Michael Stipe, one of our generations great
singers, announced that the band would play songs they’d written in protest of our government’s foreign policy and on and on. The crowd cheered and I rolled my eyes.
Now, I’m no more a fan of the current administration or the war abroad than the next college educated, NPR-loving, semi-liberal dude but I don’t need that world to bleed over into the music I love. Like church and state, I am always, without exception, music and politics have to be separated.
So R.E.M. played their politically-motivated tunes, which were self-indulgent enough. But it got worse. Above the band, on a giant screen, were the lyrics. As if to say, “Look at lyrics. My, how clever we are.”
A Note to R.E.M. – More “Man on the Moon” and less political commentary.