I'm half-surprised that Matthew Perpetua's Q&A with Michael Stipe on his PopSongs blog hasn't gotten more attention (I hope fan boards are burning up over it at least). Stipe is remarkably candid (this couldn't have happened in 1994) and Matthew doesn't waste the unexpected access. That his comprehensive song review blog could achieve such a grand finale is proof that music blogging of the non-commercial variety is still a worthwhile thing.
But I'm only half-surprised, because REM hasn't made more than a handful of worthwhile songs in the last decade. As much as I enjoy a track like "Imitation Of Life" or "Hope," I'd happily give them up if it meant history could be altered - if the band had stuck to their oft-repeated promise that if anybody left the group, they were done. What could have been remembered as the college rock Led Zeppelin is now an amalgam of the worst aspects of late XTC and late Rolling Stones. Imagine if their reunion for the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame had been their first performance since 1996! We might not have minded Michael Stipe over-enunciating "Gardening At Night!"
In that alternate reality, Matt and Michael's dialogue could be a highly publicized book. It could probably still get published in this one, too. If you are now or have ever been a die-hard REM fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out.