I spent this morning gathering CDs for an impromptu roadtrip. I asked my wife if she had any requests.
Jokingly, she said, "Korn.... and what's that other band I have that you think sucks? Tool?"
I shot back, "Every CD you had before you met me sucks."
"But I had some R.E.M. CDs..."
"Okay, so you had a few R.E.M. albums and Appetite For Destruction, but other than that..." She also tried to get rid of those R.E.M. CDs -- the only reason we still have them is because I wanted to get rid of my vinyl copies.
Speaking of R.E.M., I have been enjoying the heck out of the recently released collection from their early years on I.R.S., And I Feel Fine. Ah, the good old days when Michael Stipe wasn't so damn weird. He even had a head full of hair. Best of all, that period ends before Green, which includes my least favorite R.E.M. song, "Stand." "Stand" makes "Shiny Happy People" sound deep, and it must have disgusted Sly Stone that it shares a title with one of his best songs.
The first time I listened to And I Feel Fine was on a midnight grocery run. I ended up driving all over the North Side until the first disc was finished. I was tempted to play the second, but it was already 2 AM so I went home.
Although R.E.M. made a couple of great albums after the I.R.S. days, I completely lost interest in the band when they released Monster. I'm still not sure why since I liked its predecessor, Automatic For The People. I guess their time for me had passed. Some bands are like that -- vitally important during a certain period of one's life, then cast aside. And I Feel Fine is a celebration of the years when R.E.M. mattered to me.