On the 21st of September, I read on a fan-site that the musical group REM has decided to call it a day. After 31 years of making some great songs and performing all around the world, they have decided with mutual consent to break up. On the day I read this news, there were some 20,000 comments on that story from fans across the world.
The next day, the number of comments went up to 40,000 and more.
However, most people here in India know REM mostly through 2 songs ‘Everybody Hurts’ and ‘Losing my religion’. These are no doubt great songs but there is much more to REM than these 2 songs.
- For example, when you fall in love with a beautiful woman (and there are many of those in India!), you could listen to ‘At my most beautiful‘ (Up)
- When you want to listen to a song about loving your family (and here in India we are a very family-oriented people), you could listen to ‘Sweetness Follows‘ (Automatic for the People)
- If you work in a call centre with nightshifts (and there are oh so many of those here!) then you could listen to ‘Daysleeper‘ (Up)
- If you want to kickstart your day and stop being sleepy (this applies to people outside India also!) then you could crank up ‘What’s the frequency, Kenneth?’ (Monster) or ‘Uberlin‘( Collapse into now)
- If you have unfortunately fallen unrequitedly in love with someone (and that just happens too much in India!) then you could listen to the soulful mournful ‘So.Central Rain‘ (Reckoning)
- When you are sick of the infrastructural problems and corruption (in India and have decided to cast your lot in India inspite of these problems) then hearing ‘Stand‘ (Green) can make you feel like you’re doing the right thing.
- When you are saturated of Bollywood songs selling love to you (And romantic love is so very complicated in India!) all the time then Michael Stipe’s obscure lyrics sung with pretty musical arrangements of Mike Mills and Peter Buck can rescue you. Try ‘Imitation of Life‘ (Reveal)
- If you want to make a dreamy serenade to the one you love (and in India we don’t serenade that much I guess!) then try ‘The Great beyond‘ (‘Man on the Moon’ soundtrack) or ‘You’re in the air‘ (Up)
- If you are studying for board exams, or your parents have forced you to study a subject you do not like (here in India kids commit suicide due to all this mess) then try ‘Walk Unafraid‘(Up) and if that doesn’t work then try ‘Everybody Hurts‘ (Automatic for the people). (It is the tried and tested life saving song for the human condition of hopelessness and might also work for the Indian human high school condition of board exams!)
- If you have successfully serenaded the girl or the guy you like, then the next logical REM step would be to sing ‘Be Mine‘ (New Adventures in Hi-Fi) (however, in India you might have to sing ‘Be Mine’ to the family of your girl/guy first) for you to get the permission to take her/him ‘Nightswimming‘ (Automatic for the people)
- If your relationship gets complicated then you will know that with love come ‘strange currencies‘ (Monster) (like caste, religion, gotra etc), then she might tell you that ‘She just wants to be‘ (Reveal) and then all you can do is sing ‘There she goes again‘ (Dead Letter Office) or sing ‘I’ll take the rain‘ (Reveal)
- And if there is no love to be had then you might as well become a cartographer and get caught in ‘Maps and Legends‘ (Fables of reconstruction) instead of getting caught (on stupid exploitative Indian shows) like ‘Emotional Atyachaar’.
- If you teach at a college or university in India where students are not paying attention then you could listen to (that happens everywhere in India!) ‘Sad Professor‘ (Up)
- And lastly if you support the Jan Lokpal Bill (to end corruption in India) then you could maybe sing the ironic and political song ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)’ (Document) and maybe even translate it into Hindi?!
And if you are finally a fan of REM’s music then imagine how awesome it would have been for them to play live in India! That would have been something!
However, I am not going to complain about them never playing in India. I am just glad that they made all this wonderful music and I got the chance to discover it and enjoy it.
And I am happy that all the 4 members of the band are alive and doing well and did not fall into the stardom trap of drugs, depression and suicide.
Thank you REM.