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Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982 - 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The album is a 40-song career-spanning retrospective that collects, for the first time ever, songs from R.E.M.'s entire back catalog, including the pioneering American band's years on both the IRS label (1982 to 1987) and Warner Bros. Records (1988 to 2011). In addition to liner notes written by band members Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe, the album also features three new songs that R.E.M. finished after they completed their last album, Collapse Into Now: "A Month of Saturdays," "We All Go Back To Where We Belong," and "Hallelujah," which were recorded over the summer in Athens with Accelerate and Collapse Into Now producer, the estimable Jacknife Lee.
R.E.M. formed in 1980 when singer Michael Stipe met guitarist Peter Buck in an Athens, GA, record store where Buck worked. After recruiting bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, R.E.M. released its first single, "Radio Free Europe," in 1981, followed by 1982's Chronic Town EP, capturing the imagination of a new generation of music lovers and bringing "guitar pop back into the underground lexicon," as All-Music put it. Widely credited with inventing the college-rock genre, R.E.M. became the most influential American alternative rock band in history -- inspiring such artists as Sonic Youth, Pavement, Nirvana, and Radiohead -- for achieving multi-platinum mainstream success while maintaining their distinct identity.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 15, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B005NS0VNU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
After reviewing R.E.M's final original album of new music "Collapse Into Now" back in March of 2011 (4 stars, by the way), I put the album away and didn't think much about it. After all, the indie rockers who put the tiny town of Athens, Georgia on the map have been rocking for over thirty years, so I figured they were just going through a lull with this odd misstep.

It was their sudden and quiet announcement of their disbanding on their band's website only five months later simply blew me away, and I was suddenly reminded that here was one of the last bands from that era to be still playing continuously (and almost virtually intact) all that time despite the drag of time, surviving many of their pioneers and many of their peers, from Television to the Talking Heads to the Velvet Underground - even the record label they first signed up with, I.R.S Records, folded some fifteen years ago!

My impressions of the band during that time have varied from the great (1988's "Green" will forever be my indie "Gone with The Wind," as I played it to death when I first got it and made me re-think a great many things in my life) to the just plain blah (and let's face it, 2004's "Around The Sun" almost choked them out, they admitted that much), but they have always been one thing to even the most nominal of listeners: they were a band of musicians who provoked you to think thoughts bigger than the average band and made the travelogue of life worth taking just one more step, even though it has been - at least for me sometimes - through some pretty dangerous waters.

This album is their last letter of remembrances, a plea for you to remember memories lost, and to leave some things that are best left there behind you.

R.E.M.
Read more ›
31 Comments 218 of 239 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Releasing a 40 track hits collection as holiday shopping kicks off, and weeks after their split was a good idea. It would have been an even better idea had they not dropped two other 2-disc collections in the past 8 years. Still, this would be the "career-spanning" package.

Now with a band like REM, there's a quantity of quality songs. They were around a long time. So even at 40 songs this is bound to be missing a few favorites. However I suppose all the "greatest hits" are included. The first third of the collection is basically what the old Eponymous collection was, a track or two swapped. The bulk of the songs up to "Bad Day" could be found on their 2003 In Time best of. It's the final nine songs here that are being collected for the first time.

There's a number of songs I wish were included here, and in my opinion a few that aren't worthy. I'd drop "Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight", "New Test Leper" and "Life And How To Live It". I'd add "Drive", "Bang And Blame", "E-Bow The Letter" and "Daysleeper" if I could. Toss on "Wolves, Lower" or "Carnival Of Sorts (box cars)" too.

Overall it's a good sampling of their work. However if you've got "Best Of The IRS Years" and "In Time", you may not need this.
5 Comments 29 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
I already see the complaints coming. Why a career spanning greatest hits on the heals of 2 greatest hits sets that already do that much? Well, this set really isn't meant so much for those that are already R.E.M. fans... Heck, you probably own all the albums already anyway and could assemble your perfect playlist onto your MP3 player or a CD if you wanted to.

This is the type of set that should appeal to the novice listener. Maybe you discovered R.E.M. thanks to Collapse Into Now, and you don't know where to go from there. Well, this is a good place to go. Granted you could buy both of the previous greatest hits collections, and those are especially worthwhile if you are going to look for the early stuff or latter stuff. But as many will point out, R.E.M. were not so much a hits band as a great band altogether. I'd say the novice fan would be better to concentrate his efforts on this collection and then move onto an album that encapsulates what you like most from this collection. This may be the type of set that directs you to start at Murmur or maybe you go to Automatic for the People next. This collection is one reasonably priced package that will be really good for the new fans.

For current fans. The new tracks may be better obtained by buying the mp3's. If you are more of a lossless or CD listener, I still don't think the price of the collection is horrible, even if you are only getting 3 songs (at least from Amazon). Last, given the upcoming holiday season, this may be the chance to turn someone onto this band and let them discover the joy R.E.M. has given you over the years.
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Format: MP3 Music
The main point of this review is just to say how glad I am that I did not have to buy this entire collection in order to get the three new songs. All three were available for download from Amazon, so I did not have to pay to re-purchase 37 other songs that I already own on the original albums as well as other collections, like the outstanding "Eponymous" as well as "And I Feel Fine ... the IRS Years" and "In Time."

None of the three new songs reach the level of R.E.M.'s classics, but "We All Go Back to Where We Belong" comes closest, a lovely melody and lyrics that would have fit well on Collapse Into Now. "Hallelujah" is one last chance for Stipe and Mills to harmonize together, one of the best pairings of voices in rock history. These songs are definitely worth having as an epilogue to R.E.M.'s brilliant career.

There are too many great songs in R.E.M.'s catalog for any collection to truly do them justice. On the other hand, even a subpar R.E.M. collection will be quite good. The problem is that they have too many songs worthy of inclusion, rather than having too few. Ultimately, I think the only real value of this set is the new songs. For a better intro to the band, I'd recommend checking out albums representative of the band's different eras: You can't go wrong with (chronologically listed) Murmur, Document, Out of Time, or Automatic for the People. They have other classic albums, but those are the four that stand out to me as the best of the best.
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Tracklist?
yeah that tracklisting is sketchy and leaving off "drive", "bang and blame", "daysleeper, "strange currencies" and "bittersweet me" should be a criminal offense. were people really dying to have a compilation with "shiny happy people"... Read More
Oct 2, 2011 by Kathleen L. Tate |  See all 41 posts
Packaging...
One of the reviews above says paper cardboard packaging, so presumably it is a sleeve. This seems to be becoming the standard nowadays. I wouldn't mind the sleeves so much if they'd put the discs in some kind of liner before putting them in the sleeves, like they do for LP records.
Nov 19, 2011 by James Remsen Jr. |  See all 3 posts
Great Title
I agree! I like the artwork as well. The tracklist? Not so much..
Oct 23, 2011 by Skimboski |  See all 2 posts
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