Since the 1980s, R.E.M. has been a reliable presence on the pop music scene. Songs like "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" and "Losing My Religion" helped define what indie rock would sound like for the next two decades; and for better or for worse, songs like "Everybody Hurts" and "Shiny Happy People" will forever be a part of our alt rock lexicon. Now that they've disbanded, what are we to make of their place in the rock canon?
Steve Kandell, editor-in-chief of Spin magazine, assesses the band's contributions to modern music, decked out in his favorite R.E.M. t-shirt.