Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Call Bullshit on That

For my international readers, the title is an American idiom that means that something is either ridiculous or untrue and is related to being full of crap or something's being a load of crap.  It's also the name of the occasional column that Michael Stipe wrote for The Stranger in the mid-90's.  I only remember one of them, wherein he called bullshit on someone's being offended by his smoking outside the door of a club (probably the Crocodile Cafe, owned by Peter Buck's wife), and I remember thinking how totally uncool I was because I disagreed with him.

My high school best friend M introduced me to REM via a mix tape that she made for me using her college brother's vinyl.  Remember when making a mix tape was a way to nurture a connection with someone?  When someone got the right song that meant they got you.  M got me because each song opened my head in a new way.  "Radio Free Europe"?  What did that mean?  Did that mean that Europe didn't have a huge selection of radio stations?  Why?  Did they really mix their pop and country?  Weird.  Before you judge the American, remember: high school.  Fifteen.  Duran Duran on the brain.

By the time M and I got to college REM dominated college radio and were starting to break out into the mainstream and there were those of us *cough* who were not relishing their larger success.  Hello, I'm a recovering hipster, and you are?  Anyway, when I heard "The One I Love" over the summer mixed into "Mercedes Boy" by Pebbles my college-radio-snob-ears nearly bled.  It was the end of the world as...well, you know. 

Eventually I got over myself.  REM were still who they were regardless of their mainstream success and they still rocked up until a few days ago when they announced their split.  Gives you hope for others on the cusp of breaking out, doesn't it?  Thanks, Athens, GA.

Edit:  "Radio Free Europe" on David Letterman from October 1983.
Edit #2:  Switched out due to nasty surprise.  Sorry gang.


  1. Sadly, I've never been a hipster. :) The R.E.M. song that got me and then made me a fan was "Losing my Religion," which had/has a personal meaning for me. I'll miss them.

  2. I have a feeling you're more of a trendsetter than you think, Kurbiss. ;)

  3. I don't even remember my first exposure to R.E.M., but I remember hearing Shiny Happy People and Losing My Religion on the radio back in the day. Then again, in 1993, I was only 11! Thank you for sharing your memories! :)

  4. So you were one when they were on Letterman. Wow.


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