Skip to main content

Watch R.E.M's ex-bassist rap about the death of newspapers

Watch R.E.M's ex-bassist rap about the death of newspapers

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Newspapers are dying, and ex-R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills is upset about it. Mills appears as part of an ensemble cast to lament the death of the medium in a song titled "Stop The Presses," in which he helps provide tongue-in-cheek obituary for print media.

The track, which also features the vocal talents of Key & Peele actor Colton Dunn, Zach Sherwin from YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History, and Brandon Johnson from Monsters University, features on comedy album 2776, created by comedians Rob Kutner and The Levinson Brothers. Johnson complains that the collapse of the fourth estate means citizens won't be protected from government excesses, but most of the song is devoted to the cartoon characters that will be lost by the destruction of US newspapers. Choice line — "you're the office shooter that killed Dilbert."

Mills sings the chorus, in which he bids a long "goodbye" to newspapers. For a comedy song, it's a surprisingly mournful refrain, but heavier still is his warning from history about the dangers of an eroding press. "'Shut down the papers' was Hitler's first dictum," Mills raps. "Now we've done it to our own damn system."