Speaking to Shortlist, the singer said that the fact the band appeared on the sleeve themselves – and that Stipe was waving – should have given the game away to fans.
He also pointed to ‘All The Best”s lyrics as a huge pointer towards their future. However, Stipe also admitted that the fact the album received less attention than previous releases was also a factor in the decision.
We’re all really proud of ‘Collapse Into Now’. But I also thought it was obvious what it’s about. When has REM ever put itself on the cover of an album? Never. And I’m waving. It’s goodbye.
Stipe also said he was “amazed” at the positive reaction the band received when they announced their split in September.
“People were making heartfelt comments about what REM meant to them. Splitting up was a difficult decision. But we made it. We disbanded. It’s over,” he added.
Earlier this month, guitarist Peter Buck revealed that talk within R.E.M about splitting started back in 2008. Bassist Mike Mills and Stipe, meanwhile, have ruled out the possibility that the band will ever reunite.