YMMV / R.E.M.


  • Americans Hate Tingle: Although the band is huge in England now, as the Germans Love David Hasselhoff example below attests, the band initially was not very successful there. First, IRS records had crappy distribution outside the U.S. and second the U.K. indie scene was obsessed with their own native jangly guitar band.
  • Anvilicious: Michael Stipe intentionally made "Everybody Hurts" this so the message would be unmistakeable to listeners, mainly the teen market he was trying to reach.
  • Broken Base: Had this something awful while they were active, though the rift has largely been sealed in recent years, with their breakup leading many fans to return to and re-evaluate material they had previously disliked. At the time, though, there were those who only liked the albums before or after Stipe stopped burying his vocals (Lifes Rich Pageant being the dividing line), those who only liked the albums before or after they adopted a poppier sound (Green being the dividing line), those who only liked the pre-Out of Time material, and those who only liked the material with Bill Berry. It's pretty strange looking back on just how divisive so many now-beloved albums were.
  • Chorus-Only Song: "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)", due to the fact that it's pretty hard to understand what Stipe's saying in the verses since it's so fast.
    • "Low" arguably fits this trope as well.
    • "The One I Love" is an inversion: more people know the verses ("This one goes out to the one I love...") instead of the chorus (Michael Stipe holding the word "fire" for a whole bar while Mike Mills sings "Comin' down on her own now" repeatedly in the background).
  • Covered Up: Their version of "Superman" has become better known than the Clique's original.
    • So much so that when the song appeared, re-recorded, in a 1999 commercial, some parts of their fandom were shocked that the band had supposedly sold themselves out in such a manner. The group responded with the fact that, simply, it wasn't their song to begin with, so they had no control over what was done with it.
    • Also, "Strange" is often thought of as a song they originally performed. You'd think the fact that it's credited to a different set of writers would tip off people that it was originally performed by another band.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: During "Let Me In" live performances, the bandmembers form a closed circle and perform an acoustic version of the song as a tribute to Kurt Cobain, to whom the song is dedicated.
    • "Everybody Hurts" performed live in Lima.
      • Heck, "Everybody Hurts" performed anywhere. The 1993 MTV Video Music Awards is another notable example.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Too many to list. "Everybody Hurts" and "Bad Day" are probably the zenith.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Some of their less commercially successful albums have developed passionate followings nonetheless, most notably Monster, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, and Fables of the Reconstruction.
  • Epic Riff: Many. "Losing My Religion", "Man on the Moon", "Drive", "The One I Love", "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", "Supernatural Superserious", "Discoverer".
  • Face of the Band: Michael Stipe, although he isn't the main creative force as every member contributes to the final product.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Changes from person to person. For some fans, it's after Fables of the Reconstruction, when the band cleaned up their sound; for others, after they signed on Warner Bros.. For most, it's after Bill Berry left.
    • While their appeal varies, the first three albums without Berry (Up, Reveal, and Around the Sun) are often considered a Dork Age that was ended by Accelerate.
  • First Installment Wins: Most people feel that debut album Murmur is their best album. Reckoning, their second, occasionally gets this as well.
    • Somewhat averted by the popularity of Green and Document.
      • Automatic for the People, although markedly different to their earlier material in many ways, has frequently been strongly-received too. Some British polls have even ranked it alongside critical favourites such as OK Computer and Revolver in the past.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: From "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," the lyric "Look at that low plane, fine then." Yeah...
  • Genius Bonus:
    • "Welcome To The Occupation" is deliberately written in such a manner that it can either be about an 'occupation' as in a job, or it can be about an 'occupation' as in a country in war. Both meanings imply that the people involved had hoped for better things but have no real choice in the matter. Being screwed over by the government is the main theme of Document.
    • Also, the political subtext of "The Flowers of Guatemala" is more obvious to anyone who knows that Amanita is actually the name of a genus of very poisonous fungi.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: When their popularity dropped off in America, they remained popular in the UK and Ireland, mostly because the genre of music the band performs remains extremely popular in those countries. Indeed, Around the Sun (their only studio album never to have had a song place even on the Bubbling Under chart in the U.S.) produced a #5 hit in the UK.
    • For that matter, "The Great Beyond" hit #3 in the U.K., and it wasn't even an album track, but written for the movie Man on the Moon — which didn't make a peep at their box office.
    • Also inverted: their first album, Murmur, was a hit in the US but did not chart anywhere else (except New Zealand, where it was only a minor hit). They did not even hit the top 10 in any other country besides the US until they signed with Warner Bros.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The opening lyrics of "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)": "That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane..." Made even funnier by the Mondegreen where people hear it as "snakes in airplanes".
  • Rewatch Bonus: The music video for "Imitation of Life" is this trope, as there are dozens of different happenings going on that become more obvious when seen again.
  • Signature Song: Either "Losing My Religion" or "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: From "Everybody Hurts", You Are Not Alone.
  • Sophomore Slump: Averted with Reckoning, which is considered one of their best albums.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks/It's Popular, Now It Sucks: A lot of fans are still bitter about them going "commercial".
  • Vindicated by History: Monster is probably the band's most dramatic example of this, but this applies to some extent to almost all of the band's post-Automatic output, which was ignored or reviled until the band broke up, at which point people went back and began reconsidering.

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