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REM – Document (1987)

February 10, 2012

[Album 17/1001]

If Automatic for the People (1992) is their finest, Document is arguably the silver medalist in the REM catalogue.

This record is full of lyrical & musical treasures.  Finest Worksong is a powerful opener and any sing-along chorus with lyrics about ‘business acumen’ (Exhuming McCarthy) should not be easily overlooked.  Considering how Michael Stipe is frequently applauded for his intelligent lyrics, it’s impressive that one of REM’s biggest hits, The One I Love, features so few.  

Of course, there is no shortage of words on the record; the goal of learning the lyrics, in their entirety, to It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine) is likely on many a bucket list.

In later years, REM would be guilty of occasionally falling into jingly-jangly autopilot mode and worse yet, Nickelback-ian self-plagiarism.  If you can listen to their 2003 song Bad Day and not sing the chorus to It’s the end of the world…, you’re much stronger than I.

However, when Stipe, Buck, Berry, and Mills did what they did best – writing catchy, original, clever tunes like the eleven included on Document – they were tough to beat.

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From → 1980s

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