Thursday, June 05, 2008

590. R.E.M. - Document (1987)

Track Listing

1. Finest Worksong
2. Welcome To The Occupation
3. Exhuming McCarthy
4. Disturbance At The Heron House
5. Strange
6. It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
7. One I Love
8. Fireplace
9. Lightnin' Hopkins
10. King Of Birds
11. Oddfellows Local 151


R.E.M. finally go mainstream(ish) with this album with two great hits in it and a much more (at least apparently) track selection than their previous album. Fortunately, however, REM are not compromising quality by making this move. In fact this is a great album, the lyrics are just as abstract and referential as before but now the hooks are catchier.

This is intelligent popular music of a kind seldomly seen before, and is most definitely the first of the great albums by REM and also one of the great propellers of indie music into a more mainstream conscience, with all the good and band that that entails.

One of the very good things is how labels started paying attention to a different quality of music, to the idea that it doesn't have to be lowest common denominator to be successful, and at least for a few years that worked pretty well culminating in acts like Nirvana in the 90s. Of course this led to the massification of what was an authentic art form leading to its inexorable dumbing down. But here we have a good example of successful, independent, intelligent music.

Track Highlights

1. It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
2. One I Love
3. Exhuming McCarthy
4. King Of Birds

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Document was R.E.M.'s first album co-produced by Scott Litt and the band, a collaboration that continued through Green, Out of Time, Automatic for the People, Monster, and New Adventures in Hi-Fi, and may account for their success with this album as well as the following five. The album's clear production and muscular rock riffs helped to move the band towards mainstream success and built on the work done by Don Gehman, who had produced their previous album Lifes Rich Pageant. This album was significant not only in launching R.E.M.'s first U.S. Top 10 hit in "The One I Love" (which reached #9), but also giving them their first platinum album. It was also their first Top 10 hit on the Billboard 200.

Great live performance of It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine):

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