I mean, really? Did you think it would be anything else today? Admittedly, I haven’t owned anything they’ve put out since New Adventures in Hi-Fi in 1996. Part of that was the way music was changing, but part of it was also the way they changed. Whatever happened to REM post my college graduation, their music defined my musical adolescence. Literally, they began their commercial success when I began to pay attention to anything beyond top 40 (1987) and faded away at exactly the same time my taste for alternative was firmly cemented in place (2000ish). Thank God I could go back and discover what came before 1987 because that stuff was my favorite. This post could be 250 songs long so I’ll exercise some self control and limit it to (mostly) my personal top-whatever and not the ones that will be played on the radio all week long.
Michael, Peter, Mike and Bill, no matter how weird you got, I want to thank you for your early years, where you pushed the envelope and made us all Stand and dance like Elaine from Seinfeld or weep at the injustice of it all.
So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) (Reckoning 1984): I have nothing to say about this still as it rendered me speechless then. I remember hearing it and thinking, “oh this is what music can be?” Goodbye pop tunes on Q107. There’s a new group in town and it’s name is Waxie Maxie’s tape aisle.
(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville (Reckoning and Eponymous 1988): They love their parens don’t they? I loved this song because for a quick second I could pretend they were from Maryland. Damn you Rockville, Georgia.
The One I Love (Document 1987): The one that started it all.
Stand (Green 1988): A pop hit but worth noting here because really, who else could make a song about deeper awareness sound so catchy?
You Are The Everything (Green) I tended to favor the more obscure on this album instead of those that had commercial success. This one? Every single boy I loooooved throughout junior high and high school. Just listening to it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy like that girl used to get when she fell in love oh so many times.
Night Swimming (Automatic for the People 1992) Summer. Senior Year. All my friends were lifeguards with keys to their pools.
It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine): Again with the parens! Maybe that’s why I love these guys so-our overuse of this little device. I know I said no mainstream, but The way I see it, you can’t have a compilation of any REM sort without this song.
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