If you've looked around the country over the last year or so and been upset about the way things are going, you may at least be able to take a little comfort in the knowledge that former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe is right there with you.

The subject of politics came up during a wide-ranging interview Stipe recently sat for with Newsweek — and outspoken as ever, the singer pulled no punches, describing himself as "personally insulted" by the resurgence of hardline right-wing ideologies and policy efforts over the last several years. More to the point, Stipe feels let down by his peers, a generation of voters he believed would move the country in a very different direction.

"I’m a hippie," Stipe explained. "My generation was going to solve the problems of energy efficiency and the environment. And look where we find ourselves. We're at the brink of absolute collapse. My generation has done the exact opposite of what I thought it would do."

In that respect, Stipe may have more in common with those voters than he might think — R.E.M. made a career out of confounding expectations, after all, and years after their breakup, they're still defiantly on their own path. Categorically rejecting the idea that the group could ever reunite for any reason, Stipe insisted he couldn't think of anything that would inspire them to perform in public again, adding, "We did what we did. To try to put the band back together for any reason would just be sad and wrong."

The prospect of some sort of solo endeavor, however, seems at least mildly intriguing to Stipe. "I don’t even know what a solo record is these days. So the answer is no," he said to the question of putting out an album under his own name. "But I want to use my voice again. I really like it."

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