Tiffany's Reviews > R.E.M. Behind the Mask

R.E.M. Behind the Mask by Jim Greer
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Jul 03, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: music, bio_autobio
Recommended for: fans of R.E.M.
Read from November 06 to 07, 2011

Meh. There are MUCH better books about R.E.M. out there. This one didn't offer anything new, didn't offer any new insights or revelations from the band, didn't offer any pictures we haven't seen a hundred times before, and the tone at times was snarky, smart-ass, and judgemental. In some "descriptions" of songs, the author seems more like he's all-out trashing the songs, rather than describing or explaining them. The captions also were a let down--rather than explain what/when/where a picture was from, the captions just rehashed a chunk of the text from the book. I hate when books do that.

It only took me two days to read this, since it was mostly pictures (that are everywhere out there, so there's nothing new), and the text was rarely anything that we haven't read in other books, so it was easy to skim through. And a huge disappointment, too. Maybe in 1991 this was revolutionary and revelatory, but in 2011, it's old news.

I think the *only* moment of grand insight is when the author says, "It's interesting that after nearly ten years of solid touring-recording-touring, the one album R.E.M. decides not to tour behind [Out of Time, 1991] goes ballistic, spawning heavy-rotation videos for 'Losing My Religion' and 'Shiny Happy People.' Does this mean that big rock bands no longer need to tour if they make good videos?" (p. 86)
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message 1: by Anna (new) - added it

Anna Yar, not so much insight as lack of the obvious. R.E.M. had been at it non-stop: Green is released in 1988 and they tour for 11 months in support of it--doing incredible nights with 30 song setlist (sometimes more). {The energy was amazing--I saw 2 shows that year and thinking back to then and having any band I care about now attempt that and survive I would advise against it.} Then they put out a new record that is different and beautiful. They needed a break from the road! But they were really a truly special band at an important time in history and music. And it all lives on.

And no, for true music lovers, they want to see live music. There is nothing better.


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