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R.E.M vs. U2?



Michael_bono Has everyone seen the article on by now? Their writer poses the question: Who was the best rock band of the '80s -- R.E.M. or U2?

Sounds vaguely like an argument that Times pop critic Sean Daly and I would joust over in a Ye Ole Time Blog Battle. I'm guessing he'd want to take U2 and stick me with defending R.E.M.

For some reason, it doesn't seem like a fair comparison. It's like asking, who's your favorite sports team -- the Tampa Bay Bucs or the Chicago Cubs. They're not playing the same game. Likewise, the bands' lyrics and messages were nowhere close to being similar. The guitar work by The Edge and Peter Buck were mirror opposites. Bono and Michael Stipe comparatively have the personalities of Penn and Teller. Really the only thing they had in common was the timeframe.

Two of my favorite albums of the 80s were by these two bands: U2's Unforgettable Fire and R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant. I own them both on CD and play them often, which proves the real answer to Slate's question is: Just enjoy both bands and instead focus on the real questions of the 80s, like:

  • Best Daryl Hannah movie of the 80s: Blade Runner or Reckless?
  • Why is Dan Aykroyd singing in "We Are The World"?
  • Worst Tom Cruise movie of the 80s: Legend or Losin' It?
  • How did everyone suddenly learn how to dance at the end of Footloose?

[Click here to listen to our U2 podcast from 2005]

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:20pm]


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