R.E.M. is no more. After 31 years of odd jangle and cryptic catchiness, the Athens, Georgia, college radio legends have broken up. The break up, announced on the band’s website yesterday seems nothing but amicable, with each band member giving his own thoughts on the split. Singer Michael Stipe writes, “A wise man once said–‘the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.’ We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it.”
Stipe, too, then, is a wise man. This break up came as a surprise but it does make sense if you think about it. What would they do next? After three decades of music, most of which is incredible, it sort of seems like the smartest decision. Still, it is sad, I suppose, so let’s take a little time to reflect on this truly great band. All over the internet, people older than me and more invested in R.E.M. are writing some of their favorite memories down. Read Sasha Frere-Jones classy New Yorker piece here.