It’s The End Of The Blog As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

September 10, 2008

Well, it’s all over for now. The original mission of this site is completed, and I have written an entry for every song on every R.E.M. record that existed as of March 2007, plus every non-album track that I deemed worthy of consideration. I am generally quite proud of the results, and some of my favorite writing that I’ve done in the past few years has appeared on this site.

A lot of my favorite posts here are the ones in which I arrive at an idea about a song, or discover something in a song that I probably wouldn’t have found if I had never taken on this project, and spent so much time thinking about a body of work that I’d come to take for granted, or just accepted as good and pleasurable without thinking much about why the songs and the band have resonated with me for so many years. 

I will definitely be writing about all of the songs on Accelerate at some point in the future, perhaps at some point in 2009. (I may also hit some songs I missed the first time around.) It’s important that I have some time to let those songs sink in — a lot of what made this site work is that I lived with all the music for quite a while — and I think it’s absolutely crucial to wait for the result (and aftermath) of the 2008 Presidential election to put the lyrics in their proper context. 

This project would not exist were it not for Chris Conroy. I was stuck on writing up a Fluxblog entry, and I asked him what I should write about. He suggested R.E.M., and specifically “Let Me In,” and so I did. I realized that I could probably find something interesting to say about every R.E.M. song, and the thought of doing just that crossed my mind. A few days later, I saw a video by Ze Frank in which he advises his audience to execute every idea they have, and I felt like a gauntlet had been thrown down, and I had no choice but to go for it. I recommend that all of you take Ze Frank‘s advice to heart. 

I would also like to thank my friends Eric Harvey, Bryan Charles, Mike Barthel, J. Edward Keyes, Maura Johnston, Susan Broyles, Karen Broyles, and Hannah Carlen for their feedback and support throughout the life of the project. 

Thanks to Scott Lapatine and the Stereogum crew.  

Thanks to Trent Wolbe and WFMU.

Thanks to Ethan Kaplan and Murmurs.com

Thanks to Bertis Downs, David Bell, and everyone at the R.E.M. office. 

Thanks to the readers of this site, most especially the regular commenters. I feel extremely lucky to have had such an amazing bunch of commenters on this site. In addition to being exceptionally civil and well-behaved, I could always count on you all to provide your own thoughtful commentary, bring up interesting bits of trivia, offer words of encouragement, or go off on your own little tangents. You are the most enthusiastic and generous audience a blogger could ever hope for, and I really appreciate your attention and support. 

Thanks most of all to R.E.M. themselves, for doing what they’ve been doing for all these years.

44 Responses to “It’s The End Of The Blog As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”

  1. Justin Anthony Knapp Says:

    Congrats.

    Thanks for bringing us along for the ride. I’m sure there are some more remixes and b-sides waiting around if you get really bored:

    http://rem.wikia.com/List_of_R.E.M._songs

    Otherwise, here’s hoping they keep on releasing music.

    -JAK

  2. Kirsten Says:

    Thanks Matthew – sounds great! See you in 2009!

  3. Figgy Says:

    Well done again, Matthew. Go and celebrate with a beer or two. You deserve it.

    And Kirsten, please don’t cry…

  4. spencer Says:

    congratulations, matthew.

  5. Mike Says:

    Been reading this for months now and just want to say “bravo” basically. Thanks for keeping me entertained during lunch breaks and the weekend!

    Incidentally I think you should change the tagline to “I wrote about every R.E.M. song, eventually.” for minor comedy value.

  6. Dave Harte Says:

    This has been my favourite music blog for quite some time now. Well done on your acheivement.


  7. It’s been a fascinating journey Matthew, and I feel privileged to have watched this site evolve from its beginning. Looking forward to reading what you have to say about the Accellerate tracks, when you are ready. Thank you.

  8. Wezzo Says:

    It’s been a great read, Matthew. I never really commented much, but I read every single post you made, and enjoyed every last one. They made me re-examine my favourite band just when I thought there was nothing else to examine. Thanks, and thanks also to the regular commenters, who I also greatly enjoyed reading.

  9. Heyberto Says:

    Enjoyed it… thanks Matthew.. you da man!

  10. floodwatch Says:

    I never commented much here either, but I pored over every post like it was gospel. Truly remarkable work, Matthew – you deserve many pats on the back for completing this, if not a big ol’ bear hug.

  11. ezequiel Says:

    congratulations. great read. you only need to change the subtitle of the blog now to “i wrote about every rem song, eventually”🙂

  12. milesy Says:

    Thanks again, Matthew, for taking this on, and seeing it through. It’s been fun to read, and fun to join in now and then. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one for whom this band still matters. And there are even songs that it turned out I really hadn’t given the attention to that they deserved. And I may not have been at the gig two weeks ago had my enthusiasm for REM not been reignited: as others have said, I hope you get a commission!

  13. milesy Says:

    By the way, if you find that after many months you are missing the added pressure of this blog, of the REM oddities and covers not included here, my favourite for future inclusion would be Draggin the Line.

  14. Matheus Says:

    Congratulations! Ans thanks a lot!

  15. joshua caleb Says:

    nice touch ending on ‘it’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)’

    this has been some of the best blogging on the net and I’m glad you did this thing.

    joshua

  16. Dark Bob Says:

    Matthew Thanks! It’s been a blast! I came aboard in April of ’07 and have enjoyed this whole experiance immensely. I’ve been a die hard REM fan since 85. This blog has made me appreciate their incredible body of work even more. I’ve really enjoyed the great people who have followed this thru to the end. They feel like some sort of cyber family to me LOL Kirsten, Figgy, Beethoven was deaf, Milesy, MacClure, Scott M., to name a few, you folks are the Everything!
    Matthew, I agree about giving ACCELERATE some time to sink in. But when you do decide to post the songs, I’ll be there! Looking forward to it! Peace and Love to you all.

  17. 4trak Says:

    Well, that was a great blog.

    And damn, I was 30 short. Still gotta write them though.

  18. dumbek Says:

    Congrats, Matthew, on a job well done. I’ve been here from the beginning…commented occasionally, but not terribly often…but I read every single post. I didn’t always agree with your interpretations, but they were never less than well thought-out and thought provoking. I’ve been listening to R.E.M. since 1984. It’s amazing to me how you’ve been able to make me rethink these songs I’ve held so close for so long – on a near-daily basis. Between this blog, the rocking new album and the tour that followed, I haven’t been this excited about R.E.M. in a very long time. Thanks for your efforts.

  19. ScottMalobisky Says:

    thanx Matthew
    thanx for the mammaries

    New York
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Good Night

  20. comment Says:

    Thanks. I’ve admired this site from afar for awhile now. I couldn’t think of a subject more worthy of your efforts. Sorry you’ve decided you’ve finished the project. I thought this could go on forever and now I wish it would. Anyway, you’ve put a lot of hard work into this site. Thanks again.

  21. pggtips Says:

    I’d like to second everything dumbek has said.

    Your blog and Accelerate has given my love of R.E.M. renewed vigour and a different insight into both Monster which I recently bought for a 2nd time after selling it to a 2nd-hand CD store, just as you said in your post of E-Bow, and New Adventures which I bought yesterday for the first time. I’d heard all of the songs on Hi-Fi before but had never gotten round to purchasing a copy but have listened several times both yesterday and today and looking forward to comparing my thoughts of the songs with yours sometime in the coming months.

    All the best for 2008 and look forward to seeing your posts in 2009.

    Slainte

  22. ^k^ Says:

    This was wonderful, and it will be missed now that it’s done. Thank you for such an insightful labor of love.

  23. Jared Says:

    Matthew, I just wanted to thank you for this. It became part of my regular rotation, and every time a new song was posted, it was like unwrapping a nice new piece of candy.

    As others have mentioned, you renewed my vigor for REM, and turned me on to songs I had previously dismissed, or hadn’t been mature enough to enjoy.

    The gift of music is a special one (which keeps on giving), so you should feel good about sharing that gift with so many REM fans.

    Thanks again!

  24. Theresa Says:

    Congratulations, Matthew, on finishing this project. I haven’t commented recently, but I’ve always enjoyed reading what you write. This blog has inspired me to rethink some of the ideas I’ve had about a lot of R.E.M. songs, and it’s made me love R.E.M.’s music so much more. Thanks again for taking the time to write about every single R.E.M. song. We’ve all enjoyed this experience.

  25. Kirsten Says:

    No! Wait! Pllleeease don’t go!!!!!!! {Breathing into a paper bag now} There’s more:

    What’s New Pussycat, Radar Love, Skank, Dallas, Wait,
    Baby I, Jackson, Little Girl, Bodycount, Hippy Hippy Shake, Spooky, Aint No Sunshine, Route 66, Wild Thing, Hang On Sloopy, Louie Louie, Action, California Dreamin’, Narrator, See No Evil, Hey Hey Nadine, Lisa Says, Scheherazade, I’m Not Your Stepping Stone, Have You Ever Seen The Rain, Satisfaction, Gloria, Rave On, I Got You Babe, Secret Agent Man

    And they’re some of the more regular ones! Between us all I’m sure we can find some obscure songs that they performed once back in ’83 for you to do! PLEASE Matthew – don’t leave us!! Oh-oh here come the men in white coats to take me away……….

  26. Figgy Says:

    Hey, Kirsten. Matthew’s already covered “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”. Nice list though.

    I was personally hoping for “Academy Fight Song”. That popped up quite regularly on the Green World Tour and it’s one I love to listen to on a bootleg tape I keep in the car.

    But we should leave Matthew alone for now to take his well-earned rest from all of this.

  27. Figgy Says:

    By the way, thanks for the shout-out, Dark Bob. I too have felt the “cyber family” vibe you speak of.

    Even on those occasions when I didn’t have the time or energy to post a worthwhile comment, I always tuned in to read the opinions of the people I felt I had got to know. To add to your list I’d like to mention Mr Cup, jim jos and Paul A, and thank everyone for making up a great bunch of contributors who always had something interesting to add.

  28. Kirsten Says:

    I wonder how far into the project Matthew got before he realised how many songs there are and how much work it was going to be and maybe he had made a big mistake…. {Glad you did though Matthew!}

  29. Mr Cup Says:

    Reading these posts this morning it feels like we are at the end of a bus journey. 18 months ago I bought a ticket and made my way quietly to the back to see where it would go. Along the way we became a circle of acquaintances and friends.

    Now the bus has pulled into the depot as sadly, we make our way to the door. You’ve been great travel companions.
    Thanks for having me.

  30. Figgy Says:

    pggtips, I have to assume you’re Irish and not just using the word “Slainte” coz you heard Mike Mills say it on the “REM Live” recording.🙂

    Anyway, enjoy listening to “New Adventures…”. Ba mhaith liom an albam sin.

  31. Mark Says:

    Thanks for this project. I’ve followed it on and off since it started, haven’t commented previous to this (I think). It’s been an amazing project – I’ve really enjoyed rethinking songs that have been with me for years. The best part– going back and really enjoying R.E.M. albums for the first time in years!

    thanks Matthew….

  32. Melonie Says:

    Thank you, Matthew, for feeding my obsession in my “summer of R.E.M.” as my poor daughter has taken to calling it. I wish that I had been able to follow from the beginning, but truthfully I didn’t get really into them until I saw them in concert in June. Sad to think what I have been missing.
    But I agree with all the others who said you should get a commission. I know I personally bought five CDs based on this site. You deserve a cut. It has been a pleasure.
    And very cool to meet and interact with all of you. Even though I came late to the party, you still let me sit at the cool kids table. I appreciate that more than you know.
    And if you need a new project, I suggest doing a line by line deconstruction of the lyrics. I am SO there!

  33. Kirsten Says:

    Not me Mr Cup – I’ve chained myself to the seat and am kicking and screaming like a baby. I’m not getting off!!

  34. Figgy Says:

    And the bus conductor says, take a break…

  35. Andy T. Says:

    Thanks Matthew, I didn’t contribute much because most of what I wanted to say was covered by yourself or others. But it was a good way to revisit the REM catalog from a different perspective. And my views of several songs changed. As well as my mis-understanding of certain lyrics.

    Now that you’ve covered the songs, I still think you should do an album overview for each studio album – one that would show up before the song-by-song list when you click on the album title in the Categories list.

    Andy T.

  36. kirkl Says:

    thank you.

  37. pggtips Says:

    Figgy

    Scottish, but with more than a fair slice o’ Oirish ancestry.

  38. Figgy Says:

    Noice one, pggtips. By coincidence I’m Irish wi’ a wee bit o’ Scottish ancestry. My great grandfather came from Aberdeen. Don’t know much else about him beyond that, but one day I’ll do some research and put together a family tree. Now that popsongs is coming to an end I might have a bit of spare time!

  39. uwmryan Says:

    This site meant a lot to me. I discovered new favorites, old favorites, and songs altogether unknown to me. It’s now an important piece in the R.E.M. community.

    Thank you!

  40. seahorsey Says:

    You did several things for me:

    Killed time during a particular harrowing and hectic year of my life.

    Let me know that no matter how obsessive I was about something, someone else was more so, so I didn’t worry so much.

    Fantastic job. Sincerely. Fantastic.

  41. Justin Says:

    Thanks MP, and congrats. This was a rich and rewarding reading experience, and I’m sure I’ll be rereading it again and again.

  42. gluefoot Says:

    r.e.m. have meant, still mean and always will mean a hell of a lot to me, more than any other music..
    matthew, your writings are incredibly well-written & highly informed.. impassioned, insightful & provoking.. and most of all sincere.. and that goes for many of the regular contributors too.. it’s been richly rewarding following this glorious trail.. many congratulations on finally getting there from here.. ollie

  43. Piotr Says:

    every time I looked at your blog, you reminded me why this band had been so important for me for over 10 years. thanks a lot.

  44. gluefoot Says:

    “many congratulations on finally getting there from here” – oh jeez, i can’t believe i said that.. cheesy eh.. but i meant well!.. ollie


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