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Document (R.E.M. No. 5)

January 27, 1998 | Format: MP3

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: January 27, 1998
  • Release Date: January 27, 1998
  • Label: IRS
  • Copyright: (C) 1987 Capitol Records, Inc.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 39:46
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000TRZ28E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,976 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By P Magnum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Document was the album that helped elevate R.E.M. from kings of college radio to the mainstream. Buoyed by the catchy (and misunderstood) song "The One I Love", Document hit number 10 on the album charts. That's not too bad for an album made up of some highly political songs and some very non-commercial ones. "Finest Worksong" & "Welcome To The Occupation" open the album on a politically charged and powerful note. "Exhuming McCarthy" starts off with the sounds of a typewriter and then slides into pounding Bill Berry drumbeat and jangling Peter Buck guitar. "Disturbance At The Heron House" has a fine Michael Stipe vocal while "Strange" is an abbreviated number that has some good backup singing from Mike Mills in an almost doo wop style. "King Of Birds" has a deep south, r&b feel to it. "Lightnin' Hopkins" and "Oddfellows Local 151" are the strangest songs on the album with the later being drenched in feedback. "The One I Love" became the first song by the band to gain major radio-play and actually peaked at number 9 on the charts. On the surface, the song seems like a love song, but it is really a barbed attack. "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" is the centerpiece of the album though. Michael Stipe sings at a breakneck speed and the song is one of the best of the 80's. Many ardent R.E.M. fans dismiss this album as the band selling-out, but that is hardly the case. R.E.M. remained true to their roots and actually released a typically non-commercial album that became a commercial success due to people finally realizing the greatness and talent of the band. They show that you can become superstars on your own terms.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Brian May on March 28, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is by far my favourite R.E.M. album. "Document", released in 1987, gripped my senses the first time I heard it and hasn't let go. It is one of R.E.M.'s angriest albums, politically charged and quite chaotic. The subtitle "File Under Fire" is quite appropriate - fiery images permeate through the album. The very beginning of the first track, "Finest Worksong", conveys a feeling of industry and steel, with Michael Stipe's (now quite intelligible) vocals adding a sense of urgency. This song, and the remainder of the first side (with the exception of the interlude-like "Strange") is highly political. The brooding, disturbing "Welcome to the Occupation", the hectic "Exhuming McCarthy" and the Orwellian fable "Disturbance at the Heron House" are all short, fast and angry protests against the strong tide of political conservatism that dominated in the Reagan era. The song that encapsulates the fire and chaos is the manic "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine). With abstract and often nonsensical lyrics spewing from Michael Stipe's mouth, it is both humorous and deadly serious. Side two is also dominated by images of fire, but the political theme has gone. "The One I Love", R.E.M.'s first big hit and much misinterpreted anti-love song is searing, burning itself into your mind. "Fireplace" is one of R.E.M's most underrated (and one of my all time favourite) songs. It's a delightful, anarchic song of carefree, reckless abandon which also manages to sound subversive. The brilliance of "Document" (as is the case with most of R.E.M's music) is that subversion does not necessarily mean taking up arms.Read more ›
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Garbageman on September 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
[NOTE: other reviews of this release may be from the 2005 DualDisc/SACD release, NOT the 2012 box set.]

This album's reissue presumably represents the finale in the REM-IRS reissue series, and it's arguably the most important album in their catalog and one of the most far-fetched albums in what would no longer be called punk rock. REM arrived at the tail end of punk's old guard, when labels like SST and Frontier were in their final heyday, and steered punk toward a provincial, folksy simplicity. Compare their first two albums to Dream Syndicate, Minutemen, and Green on Red, and you get a nice trajectory. But by 1987, things were very different: punk's tentative adulthood had to contend with MTV and "Joshua Tree" bombast, and REM knew to evolve. "Document" was a punk album with a shiny, energetic surface - but underneath, it was stranger, darker, and heavier than anything they had dared do before.

The key is not to make too much of the strong MTV-fueled singles, stellar and designer-simple as they are, and instead focus on the weird pieces elsewhere. "Disturbance at the Heron House", "King of Birds", and "Fireplace" are lyrically and musically so far off the map it's hard to imagine any band ever playing such music. By the time "King of Birds" devolves into a wind-blown dirge, you can hear shades of the emotional intimacy they would later pursue on post-Warners stuff like "Automatic for the People" and "Up" - mood music, heavy and deep and thoughtful and distant. "Document" beyond the hit singles is the sound of REM growing up, confident.

The extra CD here is just ridiculously good.
Read more ›
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