R.E.M. - Every Album Ranked

by Bob Coyne
Comments (15)

Full confession, it took me years to 'get' R.E.M., in fact, I only really started buying their albums after they split.

So longtime fans may not agree with my opinion on the order of their albums. Automatic for the People is one of the greatest albums ever and would probably appear top of every person's list but depending on your age, you may prefer their 80s indie to their 90s alt-rock.

No band ever really splits up these days. Who knows, maybe they'll surprise us all one day and give us just one more album. Click an album below to read a review

Comments (15)

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So yeah, take huge issue with this list lol. All great albums, 10 on is spot on, but the 80s output is so incredible. Mine would look something like this...

1. Fables of Reconstruction
2. Document
3. Reckoning
4. Life's Rich Pageant
5. Murmur
6....

So yeah, take huge issue with this list lol. All great albums, 10 on is spot on, but the 80s output is so incredible. Mine would look something like this...

1. Fables of Reconstruction
2. Document
3. Reckoning
4. Life's Rich Pageant
5. Murmur
6. Automatic for the People
7. Out of Time
8. Green
9. Monster

then the rest. Accelerate wasn't too bad, but definitely pales in comparison to their previous work.

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I think they're one of those bands that are almost 2 or 3 bands in one. Some prefer their 80s work over the 90s albums and I can understand that but I prefer them when they went massive, which never happens for me. Maybe because I came to them late?

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It's possible. I grew up with R.E.M. being played constantly by my older brother, so I was well versed in their 90s work by the time I got to college. It was then that I explored their 80s material more and found it so much more rewarding.

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I have to agree with Tim. Fables is the album all other REM discs should be judged against. It is REM's "Disintegration".

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I kind of see them as the first 5 albums, then the next 4 are a different sound. I prefer the 4 from Green to Monster, as I say I think it depends on the version of the band you like. Out of the first 5, I think Fables is my least favourite,...

I kind of see them as the first 5 albums, then the next 4 are a different sound. I prefer the 4 from Green to Monster, as I say I think it depends on the version of the band you like. Out of the first 5, I think Fables is my least favourite, isn't that odd?

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I think Fables is the most challenging, but has such a wide reaching influence on the independent music of today. It stands outside of the college radio friendly aspects of their other albums.

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Ah - one band that I was early on and then lost track. Will always have a soft spot for Murmur, Document and the Chronic Town EP. Lost track somewhere around Monster.

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Was on the ground floor with them in the early 80's. Murmur was my intro along with the Chronic Town EP (not on this list but should be).After Document they sold out and lost the plot. Gone was the mysterious, mumbling, weird South quality that...

Was on the ground floor with them in the early 80's. Murmur was my intro along with the Chronic Town EP (not on this list but should be).After Document they sold out and lost the plot. Gone was the mysterious, mumbling, weird South quality that made them unique. After Bill Berry left the band, they were a different band. Berry wrote much of their best material (Perfect Circle, Rockville, Driver 8, Man On The Moon, Everybody Hurts to name a few). They went from being oddball Indy under dogs to dull stadium rock stars. They were never convincing as that. So my list is pretty short and terribly subjective. Ranking order:
1.Reckoning
2. Murmur
3. Chronic Town
4. Life's Rich Pageant
4. Fables of the Reconstruction
5. Document
6. Green
7. Automatic For the People.

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You provide a unique perspective, Bob. I didn't come on board until Document, which remains my favorite. Fables took a bit, but Driver 8 is a top 20 fave song of all time, so the rest of the album grew on me. There is definitely a line of...

You provide a unique perspective, Bob. I didn't come on board until Document, which remains my favorite. Fables took a bit, but Driver 8 is a top 20 fave song of all time, so the rest of the album grew on me. There is definitely a line of demarcation for the band, and I'm a fan of most of the stuff from Life's Rich Pageant through Monster. Never got the love for AFTP, however. One of my least favorite of the Bill Berry output. I love these lists!

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I also find it interesting that everyone commenting, with the opposite opinion to mine, is in the US. I wonder if my choices are more in line with UK fans? Or if it's just that I prefer that Green to Monster period?

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I think the biggest factor is when one started listening. For those on board early, the arena-rock influences felt on Document forward had to be jarring. Kevin stated it well with what he found to be the crucial elements of the band for him. I...

I think the biggest factor is when one started listening. For those on board early, the arena-rock influences felt on Document forward had to be jarring. Kevin stated it well with what he found to be the crucial elements of the band for him. I don't mind the mumbling, jangley stuff, but I also feel it had a limited shelf life and the band was simply exploring other avenues and losing interest in what made them popular.

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I jumped on board R.E.M. w/ Life’s Rich Pageant in early ‘87. Highly anticipated the release of Document in the fall of ‘87. Upon release, I felt that Document was a little too slick and straightforward. I finally saw them on the Work Tour and...

I jumped on board R.E.M. w/ Life’s Rich Pageant in early ‘87. Highly anticipated the release of Document in the fall of ‘87. Upon release, I felt that Document was a little too slick and straightforward. I finally saw them on the Work Tour and Document eventually became one of my favorite albums. Anyway, here is my list

1. Fables
2. Life’s Rich Pageant
3. Green
4. Murmur
5. Reckoning
6. Document
7. Automatic
8. New Adventures
9. Out Of Time
10. Monster

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It looks like everyone who got into them in the 80s prefers their 80s stuff over the 90s. They really do split opinion depending on your entry point.

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A tricky one...there's still some like Monster that I've (shockingly) never heard in full so I'll do a shorter list...for me Automatic and Reckoning kinda represent the two R.E.M's perfectly, the alt-rock and the indie

1. Automatic for the...

A tricky one...there's still some like Monster that I've (shockingly) never heard in full so I'll do a shorter list...for me Automatic and Reckoning kinda represent the two R.E.M's perfectly, the alt-rock and the indie

1. Automatic for the People
2. Reckoning
3. Up
4. New Adventures in Hi-Fi
5. Out of Time
6. Green
7. Life's Rich Pageant

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Comment was last edited about 4 months ago by Andy Brown Andy Brown
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Very interesting list. Almost treating them as completely different bands. I can appreciate that. As far as crafting songs and recording them for a major label, Automatic would be my pick as their best album. The ability to satisfy older fans...

Very interesting list. Almost treating them as completely different bands. I can appreciate that. As far as crafting songs and recording them for a major label, Automatic would be my pick as their best album. The ability to satisfy older fans and draw in new fans, peaked with Automatic For The People. At that point they were still undeniably R.E.M. Things changed with Monster and I never felt as comfortable with the albums after that. I love ‘What’s The Frequency, Kenneth’ from Monster and ‘Electrolite’ from New Adventures. But after Monster I would hope for the best, but expect the worst. However, I’m sure there are some fans that prefer the Up to Collapse Into Now era.

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