Last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Stephen performed a worked version of R.E.M.’s hit song “It’s the End of The World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine).” Michael Stipe, a guest on the show, stood silenty as Colbert belted out a litany of recent calamities, from Harambe to the Flint Michigan water crisis. As Colbert leaned towards Stipe to see if he did indeed “feel fine,” Stipe simply shook his head and mouthed the word “no.” Toward the final chorus, and especially dapper James Franco appeared and the three of them led the crowd in a rousing chorus.
R.E.M. has had a huge year, with their 1991 track “Losing My Religion” joining the GRAMMY Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017. The 25th anniversary version of their album Out of Time, on which that song appears, was included in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 10 reissues of 2016.
So even for Stipe, there is still reason to “feel fine” in the final days of 2016.