Does R.E.M. have one of the strongest catalogues ever? - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-02-2007, 11:00 AM   #1
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Does R.E.M. have one of the strongest catalogues ever?

I'm really amazed every time I go to put on some R.E.M. I look at my now complete R.E.M. collection, and it always takes me at least 5 minutes to decide what I should play. So I really thought about it, and realized that EVERY album from their debut "Murmur" up to and including their 11TH album "Up" is a completely enjoyable, and often breathtaking album. I'd be hard pressed to pick 10 songs from all 11 of those album that I even come close to disliking. But on top of that, each and every one of those album is at least AS good as the best efforts from a lot of other bands I tend to listen to. That's fucking insane. For example, my least favorite R.E.M. album pre-Reveal is probably "Fables of the Reconstruction".

R.E.M. fans now say "WHAT OMG!!1, that's an amazinG ALBUM!!!!LOL" I fucking know! I absolutely adore Fables of the Reconstruction. But that's what makes this thing so damn amazing! As much as I love Fables, I love Murmur, Reckoning, Life's Rich Pageant, Document, Green, Out of Time, Automatic, Monster, Hi-Fi, and Up EVEN MORE!

Let's take my least favorite pre-Reveal album, the good old Fables. That amazing third album with gems such as "Feeling Gravity's Pull", "Life And How To Live It", "Driver 8" and "Maps and Legends", yeah that one. And let's compare it to the BEST efforts from a couple other bands. Let's take Arcade Fire's "Funeral", The White Stripes' "Elephant", and Modest Mouse's "The Moon and Antarctica". Those are all modern classics by any right. And you know what? If I were to listen to them beside "Fables of the Reconstruction" I'd probably have a hard time deciding which is the better album. So mayyybe I'd pick those other albums over Fables. Funeral probably. But that's pitting those bands FINEST works to date against what I'd consider R.E.M.'s WEAKEST album from over 17 years worth of the band's music...a prolific band at that.

I think you get my point here. But take those three albums I mentioned and compare them to one of R.E.M.'s BEST albums, like "Life's Rich Pageant" or "Out of Time" or "Automatic For The People". No chance. Those three albums would smoke almost any competition. Of course this is all my R.E.M.-fanboyishness, but it would seriously be hard for anyone to deny the utter strength of their catalogue.

Here, I'll spell it out for those not familiar with R.E.M.'s entire catalogue:

1983 - Murmur (One of the strongest indie debuts in history; "Radio Free Europe", "Talk About The Passion")

1984 - Reckoning (Destroying the myth of the sophomore slump; "So. Central Rain", "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" )

1985 - Fable of the Reconstruction (Moody, esoteric southern masterpiece; "Maps and Legends", "Life And How To Live It")

1986 - Life's Rich Pageant (The band's indie masterpiece. Seriously as strong as such musical legends as Zeppelin IV, Tommy, Let It Bleed, etc. Features "Fall On Me", "Begin The Begin" and "I Believe")

1987 - Document (Their first mainstream success, one of the strongest rock albums of the decade; "It's The End of The World As We Know It", "One I Love")

1988 - Green (Major label debut, featuring beautiful obcured ballad and scathing rockers with a green thumb; "World Leader Pretend", "Orange Crush", "Get Up")

1991 - Out of Time (My personal favorite R.E.M. album. It gave us "Losing My Religion" among 10 other breathtaking works which include my ALL TIME favorite song by any artist: "Country Feedback")

1992 - Automatic For The People (Major label masterpiece. Many consider the defining album of the decade; "Find The River", "Man On The Moon", "Nightswimming")

1994 - Monster (Built solely to melt faces as stadium concerts. It has "What's The Frequency Kenneth", "Strange Currencies" and "Let Me In". That's all you need to know"

1995 - New Adventures in Hi - Fi (Proof That R.E.M. could one-up U2's Achtung Baby and beat Radiohead to the punch. Includes "E-Bow (The Letter)", "Leave" and "Electrolite")

1997 - Up (Direct inspiration for Radiohead's "Kid A". Some days THIS is my favorite R.E.M. album. It's long, moody, difficult, and utterly mesmerizing. Includes "Walk Unafraid", "Daysleeper", and "At My Most Beautiful")

2001 - Reveal (Perhaps the band's first misstep. Though it's still a strong album by all accounts. Includes "Imitation of Life", "All The Way To Reno", "Beat A Drum")

2004 - Around The Sun (Easily the band's weakest album. Sad. Still some decent work on here regardless, like "Leaving New York", "The Ascent of Man" and the title track)
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:14 AM   #2
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Great post. I've blathered on enough about REM on this board, so to say "I agree" would be redundant at this point.
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:31 AM   #3
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I absolutely love REM, but the strongest catalogue ever is a big stretch.

Everything post Berry has been just par or even sub-par.

Monster became dated very quickly.

And both Adventures and Out of Time have some filler tracks that just kill me...
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

Everything post Berry has been just par or even sub-par.
Up was really, really cool.
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:46 AM   #5
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Originally posted by LemonMelon


Up was really, really cool.
Up, has been the strongest effort since Berry, but still isn't above par.
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Up, has been the strongest effort since Berry, but still isn't above par.
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:50 AM   #7
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I just call it like I hear it...
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:52 AM   #8
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I like Up

Daysleeper =

Of all their albums I have the hardest time with Monster for some reason

It's not a bad album, I really like Kenneth and Crush With Eyeliner but allot of the other tracks don't do it for me...
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:53 AM   #9
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Monster can be a tough nut to crack. But when it finally 'clicks' it's like getting hit in the face with a baseball bat. Meaning it rocks your socks. "Let Me In" is a masterpiece of songcraft.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:01 PM   #10
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I've been listening to REM quite a bit the last few days after not listening to them for ages. I found my cassette copy of Out of Time and took it with me on a trip this weekend to listen to in the car. I'd forgotten how great that album is. Then yesterday I broke out Monster for the first time in probably five or six years. I always thought of that album as REM's equivalent of Pop.

I agree that their post-Berry output hasn't been as strong. Up was the last album I bought, and I didn't love it, though Daysleeper is probably one of my favorite REM songs. When I was in my teens, I had a hard time choosing between them and U2 as my favorite band.

I may have to dig into REM's back catalog while I do my taxes later today
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:04 PM   #11
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I absolutely REM!! Excellent post Lancemc. I like a lot of Up as well. Lotus is probably my favorite off the album. Watch the video, so sexy:
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:15 PM   #12
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REM is a great band. I have to admit that I actually like their later stuff better (except Around the Sun).
"Monster" was when I got into them. I saw them on that tour and it was incredible. I actually never really got into much of their older stuff, except I remember liking "Orange Crush" and "The End of the World as We Know It" when I heard them on the radio.
"Adventures" "Up" and "Reveal" have some great stuff on them. I can't listen to them straight through as perfect albums, but they have a high number of strong songs still.
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by onebloodonelife
I absolutely REM!! Excellent post Lancemc. I like a lot of Up as well. Lotus is probably my favorite off the album. Watch the video, so sexy:
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by LemonMelon


Hahaha I've never seen that video. I had the biggest grin on my face while watching it because it's almost EXACTLY how I pictured it would be. I think that video is a pretty solid visual representation of Up in general. You could have the sound off and know just how trippy of a record it is.
So true! I just like watching Michael Stipe roll around shirtless
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:56 PM   #15
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One of the best bands ever! Even without Berry they made great albums. I don't think they have a very weak album, I like them all.

I go wild when I listen to "What's the frequency, Kenneth?", "The sidewinder sleeps tonite", "Find the river", "Tongue", "The one I love", "Orange crush" or even "The great beyond"...
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