R.E.M.'s Finest Hour - Articles - Soundblab

R.E.M.'s Finest Hour

by Dan Clay Rating: Release Date:

One of the most imaginative bands of our time have decided to call it a day. With a wealth of songs at their disposal which showcase the band at their peak, by picking one track from each of their 15 albums through the years we aim to arrive at their ultimate track in celebration of one of the best bands of our generation.

(PS - the last time I posted this I got a lot of flack for suggesting Everybody Hurts might be their defining moment - not their best - but it's what most people will remember them for.)

Murmur (1983) The band's debut (often considered one of the best debut albums of all time) certainly contains some great tracks but surely

with its haunting backing takes the crown in this jewel.

Reckoning (1984)

now trademark Peter Buck guitar sound beats off the competition on their strong second album.

Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) A darker release than the previous two but containing some great tracks, the best of which has to be the melodic, harmonic ode to

Lifes Rich Pageant (1986) The strongest of their IRS albums features some undiscovered gems. Michael Stipe's own favourite from their entire discography,

beats them all.

Document (1987) Their breakthrough album brought Warner Bros knocking and with '

as a calling card, it's no surprise.

Green (1988) The more acoustic, lighter first album for a major label gave them the confidence to produce several poppy moments, as their next album would prove. Here

shows the band really having fun.

Out of Time (1991) Their first major major album gave us some terrific songs, but not to include mega-hit

amongst them would be a travesty.

Automatic for the People (1992) The benchmark album for the band gave us the beautifully uplifting

' which nearly everyone learnt to play when they first picked up a guitar.

Monster (1994) Although a relative disappointment for fans, the much anticipated rockier follow-up to Automatic features some terrific songs. The fuzzier, grungier re-working of 'Everybody Hurts' makes '

the best.

New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996) Probably the band's best album with the original quartet, on which

brings the mournful tones of Patti Smith's vocal to the fore and creates the band's darkest but most interesting lead single.

Up (1998) The first album after drummer Bill Berry left features some oddly creative material and in

one of Stipe's best love songs.

Reveal (2001) Lush production moulded in the Pet Sounds image created R.E.M.'s warmest album to date. 'Imitation of Life' may have been the big hit but how '

isn't as popular as their best-known work remains a mystery.

Around the Sun (2004) A pretty terrible album devoid of much melody. They chose to put it all on one track and in '

created a classic REM ballad.

Accelerate (2008) A rockier album than most returns the band to their early roots. Penultimate track '

at just two minutes long blends a killer chorus with enough pace to outgun Usain Bolt himself.

Collapse into Now (2011) The band's most recent album proved to be a decent swansong.

' sounds an oddly fitting epitaph now. Lovely.

Though 'Everybody Hurts' and 'Losing My Religion' will no doubt stick in many people's minds, surely 'Fall on Me' musically ranks as their best and 'It's the End of the World as We Know It' their most enjoyable moment. And of course we haven't even thought about non-album gems like

'.

Thanks guys for 31 years of great music and memories

Comments (9)

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Great article and an interesting topic. I don't think I could pick an ultimate song by them. I still can't stand 'Everybody Hurts'. To me, it mark the point when Stipe started relying on cosy cliches and Hallmark sentiments. Odd considering he...

Great article and an interesting topic. I don't think I could pick an ultimate song by them. I still can't stand 'Everybody Hurts'. To me, it mark the point when Stipe started relying on cosy cliches and Hallmark sentiments. Odd considering he was such a great lyricist, but then look what's happened to Morrissey - all his recent song titles look like Daily Mail headlines of bad chick-lit titles. New Adventures and Up were a return to form for the band but I think it definitely was time to call it a day.

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I'm glad they've split. Not because I dislike them, I like certain periods but because they can now draw a line under it all. So many bands just keep going, releasing one stale album after another. Also they can reform in 10 years and make a few...

I'm glad they've split. Not because I dislike them, I like certain periods but because they can now draw a line under it all. So many bands just keep going, releasing one stale album after another. Also they can reform in 10 years and make a few quid!

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That's true!

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sorry to rain on the parade, but hasn't REM been done on Soundblab, at least in part - I remember opinions about 'Everybody Hurts' etc - I hate that song too btw!

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Pilgrimage, Perfect Circle and Driver 8 are probably my favs by them!!

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Yeah, but just cos something's been written about before doesn't mean it can't be again, Steve. Especially since the band have just split. And, yes, Driver 8 is awesome!

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Just updated the article and rewrote parts (mainly to take out the offending Everybody Hurts angle) but I still stand by my opinion that it's what they'll be remembered for by most of the population rather than the fantastic song writing of Fall...

Just updated the article and rewrote parts (mainly to take out the offending Everybody Hurts angle) but I still stand by my opinion that it's what they'll be remembered for by most of the population rather than the fantastic song writing of Fall on Me and the like!

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Great band, 'Finest Worksong', 'Country Feedback', 'E-Bow Letter', 'Orange Crush' and 'The Apologist' are personal favourites...

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Mark Arm referred to Everybody Hurts as a Hallmark Card and I agree. It's dross. I LOVE that you mention I'll Take the Rain. One of the most moving songs I've heard by any body. Criminally underrated. For the Kaufman-obsessive in me, Great Beyond...

Mark Arm referred to Everybody Hurts as a Hallmark Card and I agree. It's dross. I LOVE that you mention I'll Take the Rain. One of the most moving songs I've heard by any body. Criminally underrated. For the Kaufman-obsessive in me, Great Beyond steals it for me.

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