It's something like that. One of the joys of early R.E.M. is that everyone hears what they think they can hear.
Michael Stipe has just announced that he's releasing his first post- R.E.M. music, a soundtrack to a friend's film. Most of the world will probably do little more than shrug. They carried on far too long, almost nothing after New Adventures In Hi-Fi sticks in the memory and they began to have an air of pomposity which became offputting. So it's funny to watch a clip like this one, live on the David Letterman show in 1983 playing Radio Free Europe and So Central Rain, when they were a frenetic, Wire-y, mumbling, American post-punk band dressed in second hand clothes. And then to shed a little tear.