So trumpeted (or should that be synthesized) the Durham Herald-Sun in a headline for a story about Mr. Stipe at Moogfest.
Moogfest is a weekend art, music and technology festival happening this very weekend in Durham.
I’m not sure anybody really classifies the R.E.M frontman’s music as pop, but the headline writer and the story’s reporter might be forgiven for that since Stipe calls himself a pop star later in the story — although probably facetiously.
(Side note: The word “pop” shows up eight times in the story. “Rock” once. “Alternative” none. But who’s counting?)
The writer does take a step over the line of credibility when she calls R.E.M. itself a “pop band.” Do popular hits make a band with 15 mostly rocking studio albums pop? Not in my book. But if you’ve only heard “Everybody Hurts” and “Shiny Happy People,” then you might not know any better.
So, while the story unsteadily tiptoes on the edge of understanding its subject, it still manages to do a decent job of explaining what Stipe has created for Moogfest: a video portrait of an influential friend accompanied by an original Stipe composition.
But the story comes crashing down that ridge it was warily treading when it reports, “Stipe also talked about others he knew in Athens — the B-52s, who left for New York at a time ‘punk rock wound down to no wave.'”
I know it happens, but papers are usually careful not to send someone who doesn’t know much about the legal system to cover a court case or someone who only eats chicken fingers to review a five-star restaurant. Alas, here’s a story that makes reference to the glory days of the no wave movement. Since there was no wave, no wonder I don’t remember it well.
Also, it’s B-52’s (not B-52s). Clearly, I wish I’d covered it myself.
But since that isn’t going to happen, the better solution is just to enjoy the artwork itself, thanks to WRAL.