Gladstone’s Great Things That Suck – REM

So the other day REM announced they were calling it quits, and I know that like many of you my first thought was “wait, they’re still a band?”  Well, apparently they were and in light of their announcement, I e-mailed the girl who broke up with me twenty years ago to let her know we were through. 

Why am I being so mean?  After all, there was a time when REM were hailed as an important band.  But that time was known as the 80s.  The decade that brought you other bad ideas like acid rain, deficit spending, and the snap bracelet.  The truth is that REM amounts to little more than a breath of non-processed fresh air during a decade of uninspired house music and hair metal. 

Look, no one is more surprised by how little I care about REM’s demise than I am. After all, there was a time when I was a fairly large REM fan. I still think 1986’s Life Rich Pageant is one of the greatest pop rock albums of all time.  That’s right. Of all time. So why all the hate

Because REM is one of the shockingly laziest bands of all time. They reached a point that many other great band reach where they had the power to progress as musicians and make their own rules, and they used that power to become increasingly safe and boring.

Compare them to U2.  Both bands require songwriting in the collective sense because unlike the Beatles or the Who or even a band like Bon Jovi no one in the group is an accomplished enough songwriter on their own.  And much like U2, REM featured guitarists who were not technically virtuosos, but who had developed unique sounds. 

But unlike U2 they did not try to grow as artists.  They did not experiment with changes in sound or style or songwriting. A few years after the Joshua Tree, U2 did Achtung Baby and Zooropa.   A few years after Out of Time, REM wrote Everybody Hurts – a song so cliché and absurd that the first time I heard it, I laughed out loud, thinking the boys were parodying saccharine boring G/C/D cheeseball inspirational music. I was wrong. So very very wrong.

The songwriting stalled and Stipe decided to use less and less of his vocal range on every single album.  Their instrumentation remained unchanged as did their songwriting. Zero musical growth rate, which I guess is OK if you’re the Ramones, but they weren’t.  They were just four guys from Georgia who had a neat sound reminiscent of the Byrds who polished their product to perfection in 1986 and then repeated it until everyone including themselves apparently lost interest.




Gladstone is a columnist for, the creator and star of the Hate By Numbers video series, and the author of the forthcoming novel Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. Most of his stuff can be found on his site.


The Walken Dead – POYKPAC Comedy

Walken-DeadPOYKPAC Comedy makes you go, “What the FFFFF…unny?!?”

This Brooklyn based comedy troupe consists of funny people named Jenn Lyon, Maggie Ross, Ryan Hall, Ryan Hunter and Taige Jensen. They had a little help from our friend Justin Morgan in The Walken Dead.

Megan Lent Makes Pie Charts – Irony

by Megan Lent

Because “rain on your wedding day” is unfortunate, but really only ironic if you happen to be a meteorologist who picked the date for your nuptials solely because you specifically predicted that the weather was to be 100% sunny.

Keith Apicary + Katy Perry = DANCE PARTY



Keith Apicary

Nathan Barnatt of Keith Apicary, Trale Lewous and general viral video and YouTube famousness is holding a campaign to get his dancing ass in a Katy Perry video. Comedy Rants is dedicated to covering the most significant matters of our time, and we endorse this campaign. You can join the Keith Apicary + Katy Perry = DANCE PARTY movement simply by tweeting this:

@NathanBarnatt applying to dance in a @KatyPerry video. Here is his application and

We asked Nathan to share some insights about why he wants to be in a Katy Perry video -

Although this is stupid and won’t work I thought I’d try to get Katy Perry to do a music video with me doing my thing. Whatever that is. Flopping around I guess. Katy Perry’s songs are crazy dancey and the videos are usually pretty fun. I did my last one for Yelle and the band loved it now it’s the official video for that song. Yelle was on tour with Katy this summer. So maybe I should have Yelle drop Katy a note in the hall or something. I’ve wanted to do my style of a dance video for her songs before. I feel like she might appreciate the humor and style of them. Unless she isn’t into dumb morons. Who knows. – Nathan Barnatt