I just finished reading the interview by Christopher Bollen with Michael Stipe. I have always admired Michael Stipe and R.E.M. Their albums have been the soundtrack to my childhood. Some of my very earliest memories have R.E.M. playing in the background: I danced around with my daddy in the living room of our house in San Antonio; I blasted Monster from our new stereo when I was 10; we listened to them on our many family road trips... Goodness, as often as we listened to it while driving to and fro during the holidays, Automatic for the People may as well be a Christmas album. So with that in mind, it's very appropriate that R.E.M. is breaking up as I end my adolescence (as much as it pains me to admit that I am 25 and only just now leaving adolescence).
Stipe's candidness was striking after so many years of public reticence. He readily admits his shyness, and considers becoming a singer for a band "the most courageous thing" he ever did. The early "mumbling" delivery style that he was so famous for using is an example of how afraid he was to open up. I was really struck by that, because I too feel so fearful of that vulnerability.
So even though he will never see this, or know that this insignificant person feels this way about him, I just wanted to thank Michael Stipe for finding it within himself to open himself up to us.