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Talk About the Passion - R.E.M.'s Discography Reviewed


May 11, 2010
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Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Peter Buck and Bill Berry, four young ambitious musicians not content with small town life came Athens, Georgia, a small community that would soon become famous as the college music capitol of the United States. There they found each other and formed a band which, after several name changes, would come to be known as R.E.M.

Fourteen studio albums and millions of record sales later, the band remains a powerful force in music, constantly evolving musically and lyrically and selling out shows in the process. Such success stories are the stuff of legends, and as one of the most critically respected and adored bands of the past thirty years, R.E.M. have effectively solidified their legendary status. In short, R.E.M. are perhaps the single group that has influenced me most musically, changing my life in the process.

In this thread I will review all of R.E.M.'s studio albums, plus an array of live albums, b-sides compilations and greatest hits selections. Each review will have a selection of three key tracks from the album that you can download at will. A "Next Step" feature will also be implemented. For each studio album I review, the "Next Step" album will be an album to look into after listening to the reviewed album, which you may be interested in if you liked the reviewed album. Feel free to send me a private message if you ever want anything, and thanks for reading!

Studio albums:

IRS Records (1982-1987)

Chronic Town (EP - 1982) - 9
Murmur (1983 - Reissued 2008) - 10, 8.5
Reckoning (1984 - Reissued 2009) - 10, 8
Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) - 10
Lifes Rich Pageant (1986) - 10
Document (1987) - 7

*Rick's Essential R.E.M. Volume 1: The I.R.S. Years*

Warner Brothers Records (1988-Present)

Green (1988) - 7.5
Out of Time (1991) - 7
Automatic for the People (1992) - 10
Monster (1995)
New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996)
Up (1998)
Reveal (2001)
Around the Sun (2004)
Accelerate (2008)

Live Albums:

Tourfilm (1990) - 9
Blue (MTV Unplugged) (Unauthorized - 1991) - 7.5
R.E.M. Live (2007)
R.E.M. Live at the Olympia (2009)


Dead Letter Office (1987) - 5
Eponymous (1988) - 8.5
R.E.M.: In the Attic – Alternative Recordings 1985–1989 (1997)
In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 (2003)
Itunes Originals - R.E.M. (2004)
And I Feel Fine...: The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 (2006)

Note: Compilations will be reviewed song by song, whereas studio albums will be reviewed as a whole, taking cohesiveness into account.

Other Albums:

Man on the Moon OST (1999)
r.e.m.IX (2002)

Rating System:

10 - Mindblowing/Flawless. A cornerstone of any record collection.
9 - Classic/Essential. A nearly perfect album. Finding flaws will be very difficult.
8 - Exceptional/Great. A very good album worth multiple listens.
7 - Good. A valiant effort, flawed but ultimately worth it
6 - Decent/Above Average. Verging on mediocre, or a musical experiment gone wrong.
5 - Average/Mediocre. Fans of the band may find worthwhile parts, others may be disappointed.
4 - Poor. Verging on bad, not worth paying money for.
3 - Bad. Not worth downloading
2 - Awful. Not worth considering downloading.
1 - Bane of my existence. Should you be in the presence of a record with this score, destroy it.

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