Feel the same way about REM: Michael Stipe can jump his whining ass off a cliff, but a solid band. The band (minus Stipe) cut a redneck blues album with Warren Zevon about 15 years ago that was solid.
I'm sorry - but I just cannot let this go by without comment. I have respect for every member of REM so I can't say the others would be nowhere without Stipe, but let's put it this way - they'd be different- and I don't believe half as successful.
Michael Stipe has a beautiful voice. It's pure.
And maybe you'd have to be a female or a bi or gay male to think so, but in his own weird way, he's sexy as hell. (I think it's the ambiguity- it makes him seem vulnerable and mysterious and that's different and attractive -to men as well as to women- at least among those I've had discussions of REM with). The only time he bugged me was when he wore that black eye-liner for a while.
He's also a great writer. REM have sold millions of records primarily on his voice and lyrics. So you can't contend that he hurts the band in any way. He can write cynical and he can write incredibly sentimentally and romantically. He swings both ways in every sense of the term.
I think he's one of the most versatile musicians and minds of our age.
But I will give you that you and I seem to have different musical taste, (eg, Neil Young), Patiodog, and that's just the way it is sometimes, but the other reason I couldn't let this post go by is that I'm dying to know what Warren Zevon and REM did together. I love Warren Zevon and thought I had everything he'd done. Apparently not. Can you tell me the name of the record and where I might find it?