Monday, November 20, 2006

Bill Simmons rushes in where angels fear to tread

A friend e-mailed this to me this morning. Bill Simmons over at Stylus magazine has U2 and REM go head-to-head.

"The Match-Up: U2 formed in Dublin in 1976, releasing their debut album Boy in 1980 and quickly became superstars in their home country. By the mid-80s, this stardom had spread to the rest of Europe and eventually to America, and by the time of 1987’s The Joshua Tree, U2 were arguably the biggest band in the world, with a pair of #1 singles and the first of a series of gigantic world tours under their belt. U2 recoiled somewhat from their fame in the 90s by trying on a series of different, experimental skins, some of which complemented the band better than others, but by the end of the decade, they were ready to return to their arena-rock roots and quickly regained their status as one of the biggest bands in the world, especially in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, for which their music was often used as an inspirational backdrop.

"R.E.M. formed in Athens, GA in 1980, and released their debut album Murmur in 1983, quickly becoming college radio favorites. They released a series of critically acclaimed and increasingly commercially successful albums through the mid-80s, leading up to the 1987 breakthrough of Document, which gave the band their first top ten hit. At the turn of the decade, they were arguably the second biggest band in the world, releasing a series of commercially successful and critically adored albums, but hit a brick wall with the “return to rock” release of 1994’s Monster, from which the band never really recovered. After the departure of drummer Bill Berry in 1997, R.E.M. turned in a softer, more production-driven direction, but found neither much commercial or critical success, each album of theirs selling less than the one before it."

See the results of Simmons' brave endeavor U2 vs. REM.

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