R.E.M. Shutters Fan Club with Low Key 2011 Christmas Single ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, December 19, 2011

R.E.M. Shutters Fan Club with Low Key 2011 Christmas Single

R.E.M. Fan-Club Holiday Single 2011 by Slicing Up Eyeballs

R.E.M. Shutters Fan Club with Low Key 2011 Christmas SingleWay back in the pre-Internet dark ages, it used to be the epitome of indie record-geek cool to be a member of R.E.M.’s fan club as the club put out an annual limited-edition Christmas single containing exclusive material. The original fan club releases were vinyl singles which contained (generally) a unique, one-off cover along with a holiday-themed song. The first few singles contained covers of songs by Television, Mission of Burma and Flipper along with ‘goofy’ holiday covers that included ‘Parade of the Wooden Soldiers’, ‘Toyland’, and ‘Good King Wenceslas’.

I lost interest in R.E.M. in the middle-90’s and dropped my fan club membership but got back involved this year as I expected the band’s final holiday single (the fan club is now disbanded now that the band has broken up) would prove interesting. Unfortunately, the final release from the fan club is unremarkable…it is a two song CD which contains live performances of “Perfect Circle” (Twickenham 8/30/08) and “Life and How to Live It” (from R.E.M.’s final show, Mexico City 11/18/08). While the recording and performances sound great – there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason as to why these tracks from these shows were chosen. In fact, R.E.M. had previously posted the six song encore from their final show in Mexico City to YouTube.

As R.E.M.’s final holiday single is pretty unremarkable, it is disappointing to see the fan club go out with a whimper rather than bang.