When Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills decided to call it a career as a band on September 21, it was somewhat of a shock to my system. I acknowledge they haven’t made an above average album since the ’90s, but they’ve always been the reliable song-makers who create new music like clockwork. When the split was announced via their official website, I was torn; I would miss them existing as a band, but I was sort of glad they would stop adding new, subpar material to their glorious catalog.
Despite my apprehension to any new tunes, I was very glad when I read this morning on Rolling Stone that Stipe and the gang had recorded one more song to send themselves off. The encore is called “We All Go Back To Where We Belong,” and it serves as a light tune with a prominent melody. Stipe’s voice is tired, but he still exudes the poetry of life. I can’t think of a better way for R.E.M., one of the biggest-ever difference-makers in rock, to go out.