R.I.P. R.E.M. 1980-2011

Holy crap, folks. R.E.M. has broken up.

Well, okay, “broken up” is a pretty strong way to put it. The band has actually said “we have decided to call it a day as a band.”

In an official statement on their website, REM says “We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

Individual band members have been adding their thoughts, feelings and explanations to the original announcement, and it sounds as if the parting of ways is not personal or with any kind of malice. Michael Stipe’s comments begin with “A wise man once said–‘the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.’ We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it.”

R.E.M. was formed in 1980, meaning the band has been active for 31 years. Which is a hell of an accomplishment. In that time, they released 15 albums, including this year’s Collapse Into Now. They have released over 50 singles and won multiple Grammys. And, most importantly, they have inspired and entertained 31 years worth of fans with their music.

And if you’re upset by this? Well, all I can say is that everybody cries. And everybody hurts…sometimes.