About 2 months ago Matthew Perpetua started a blog called Pop Songs 07 with the goal of writing about every R.E.M. song. He’s not posting the songs, he’s just writing short reviews of them one by one. For those who haven’t been following, that’s a lot of songs covering a lot of time. Thus far he’s done over 40 of them but still has many more to go. I don’t agree with all his analyses, but in a way that’s the point. The fact that he’s doing it, and doing it this way, opens up a new way for fans to discuss the songs, each on their own, and the amount of comments he’s getting from fellow fans offering their own takes on the songs is really interesting.
Yesterday, for instance, he posted about Stand, one of the most successful and reviled of their songs. The 50+ comments demonstrate many of the things music does for fans. It brings up old memories:
“stand” was the first r.e.m. song i can remember hearing. the video was shown on nick rocks. it was a nickelodeon music video show (for kids, obviously–maybe you remember, but it might have been before your time). i think this was in 1988 or so.
When I was 15, Stipe’s long hair and shy smile in this video had me all crushed out. This remains one of my favorite R.E.M. songs, regardless of meaning, connotations, or chart position.
For others, it’s a chance to differentiate themselves from other R.E.M. fans (age has been a huge issue in this fan community as long as I’ve been following it):
Based on the postings so far, I’m a little older than some of you. I’m definitely one of those folks who remember being worried about REM’s move to Warner Brothers. Someone mentioned not being able to get into the IRS years. For me, it’s exactly the opposite: there was such a clear distinction made (by the band) between their IRS and Warner Bros albums, I’ve never been able to fully embrace the later stuff. In many ways, Green was a shock (not in a good way). While much of the album has grown on me, “Stand” just hasn’t.
It also leads to discussion of other topics:
Given the climate change the song is more actual and urgent than ever. I reat that the name Green comes from the german political party “Die Grünen” (german for green), do you know if that is right?
Gabriel, the US has its own Green party. It’s just a word commonly associated with environmentalism, and parties that encourage reform of policies that have a negative impact on the environment.
And of course there is plenty of good natured discussion of whether the song is fun and wonderful or stinks.
Fan forums often have discussions of new records when they come out, and discussions of tours when they happen, but this kind of song-by-song discussion is not something I’ve seen before [if you have other examples, please point them out!] and I think it offers a neat chance for fans to get into depth about what songs mean to them, how they’ve worn over the years, and so on.