(originally published October 20, 2012)
I was recently involved in a conversation where someone was attempting to sell some barely explainable idea that R.E.M.’s albums are connected in cycles of five. I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around such a ridiculous idea let alone even find some sort of similarity between album number three and album number five. I can even see if the idea was based on trilogies. Many bands and artists have released thee albums consecutively that can be linked in the form of a trilogy based on sound, style, theme, or production. I think two however, is the more accurate number for R.E.M., and the case has usually been that albums have often resembled each other back-to-back in twos. So, with the exception of a few dislocated albums, I group R.E.M.’s catalog into sets of twins.
Murmur and Reckoning are the older twins.
Fables of the Reconstruction is the special one.
Lifes Rich Pageant and Document are the younger twins.
Green was conceived by the younger twins’ mother with a different father, and the child was just not cool enough to hang out with the younger twins it so desperately wanted to be like.
Out of Time and Automatic For The People are dysfunctional twins.
Monster and New Adventures are the asshole twins that nobody likes.
Up and Reveal are the highly eccentric creepy twins who most pretend not to like but are really jealous of because they seem to know something nobody else does.
Around the Sun is the challenged inbred creation of Up and Reveal.
Accelerate is the cool baby cousin of the younger twins.
Collapse Into Now is the little baby brother who was born some 20 years after all his other siblings and doesn’t resemble anyone. His parents become too old to give a fuck, and he goes through life left to his own devices, wandering aimlessly with no love, no friends and no direction.