Losing my Religion

Today is the day when I lost one of my religions.

Music. Great music.

This song was one of the first songs that I learned to play in the guitar (Though I have to confess that Eraserheads’ Ang Huling El Bimbo and Extreme’s More than Words fueled my passion to play the instrument). With its simple Am-Em-Dm-G chords on its verse, I felt the Peter Buck and Michael Strap within me, singing my lungs out without understanding, young as I was then, the true meaning of the song.

The song was catchy and easy to play in the guitar. And that was what mattered to the six-year old me.

As I grow older, and thanks to the advent of modern technology and my sleepless nights with my trusty transistor, I learned more from this band.

And it broke my heart when I learned that they have disbanded. Or retired, if that would be the proper word to describe it.

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After 31 years in the business and 15 albums, R.E.M., the Southern rock band hailing from Athens, Ga., announced Wednesday morning on its website that it is calling it quits. In a brief statement, the band writes:

“As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. 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.”

As I read through some of the online articles from different news agencies about the band’s breakup, there is a rumor that an alleged label politics influenced the band’s decision. Yeah, that same corporate bullshit that hinders the artist’s freedom and destroys the careers of hundreds of great artists and musicians.

Let’s just keep politics out of music, shall we?

Thank you for the music. Thank you for the inspiration to pick up my guitar. Thanks for the memories.

Today is the end of the world as we know it. I have played great music with the man on the moon after losing my religion. Good night, the sidewinder sleeps tonite. So long, R.E.M.!

(Read more from the Los Angeles Times)

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