R.E.M.’s Greatest Songs: See the Record

This text was initially printed in 2017, however we’re dusting it off for Michael Stipe’s birthday on January 4th.

For those who’re in any respect like me, you most likely affiliate sure bands with particular moods. In different phrases, you flip to those bands once they suit your way of thinking, match how your day went, or simply appear to sound how you are feeling.

R.E.M. has by no means been a kind of bands for me, although. Irrespective of my temper, mindset, or emotion, there’s an R.E.M. album or sound that fits me. “I’ve lived a full life,” Michael Stipe as soon as sang, and I feel that’s how we felt concerning the band once they parted methods in 2011. To look again at their catalog then or now could be to see a band which have lived a full life — and life to the fullest — leaving few stones of the band expertise unflipped or unskipped.

All these years later, R.E.M. stays a band to vent to, cry to, and dance alongside. There are songs to make you bear in mind, songs to make you neglect, and songs actually sung to avoid wasting your life. Once more, regardless of how you are feeling, they’ve one thing for you, and it’s exhausting to consider a greater catalogue of songs to develop up with, to develop with, and, lastly, to develop previous with.

So, listed here are 20 R.E.M. songs we discover ourselves turning to lately greater than most. And, fortunately, there are loads extra the place they got here from.

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Matt Melis

20. “Start the Start”

Lifes Wealthy Pageant (1986)

Sleeping via a revolution is a cardinal sin, as “Start the Start” argues from the get-go: “Birdie within the hand for all times’s wealthy demand/ The insurgency started and also you missed it.” It’s a biting line that Michael Stipe repeats time and again for full impact, splattering his listeners with passive-aggressive guilt, as he later leans on aggression and loses any guff: “Silence means safety, silence means approval.” It’s straightforward to see why the opening monitor off R.E.M.’s fourth studio album, Lifes Wealthy Pageant, would open so a lot of their dwell performances. It’s a timeless assertion for progressives in all places, and as such, extremely emblematic of the band as an entire. Let’s hear once more. — Michael Roffman

19. “Fairly Persuasion”

Reckoning (1984)

With its jangly, arpeggiated chords and driving rhythm part, “Fairly Persuasion” doesn’t appear misplaced on 1984’s Reckoning, although R.E.M. allegedly penned the track years earlier. There’s a transparent power-pop affect right here, and Peter Buck’s sparkly intro riff units the tone for a darker, extra ominous model of The Data’ “Starry Eyes” (launched a 12 months earlier than R.E.M. fashioned, in 1979). Michael Stipe nearly appears like a punk singer as he rails towards the “hurry and purchase” impulse of consumerism, his anger intermingling with the jangly melody to create one thing odd and inexplicably charming. — Collin Brennan



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