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Video: The five best bands that broke up in 2011 -- paired with five of their saddest songs

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3. R.E.M.: You'll have to forgive us for the song choice above, but is there really any other option to accompany this reflection? R.E.M>'s September decision to leave a scene it revolutionized was a sad one, if not a surprising one. For more than three decades, Michael Stipe and his motley crew of nerdy but raucous rockers stood as brave archetypes of rocktivism, a mix of anthemic musicianship and sincere political activism that falls somewhere between caring too much and playing too hard. Perhaps that is why, when it came time to pull the plug 31 years in, that decision was accompanied by the same sort of bravery. Can you take a stand against taking a stance anymore? While we're at it, can you continue to be epic college rock decades after your first fans graduated? The answer is yes, but only if you're R.E.M.
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Kelsey Whipple
Contact: Kelsey Whipple