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.