Having a career spanning just over thirty years, Athens, Georgia-based R.E.M. have released a multitude of songs now considered iconic. Since “The One I Love” became a breakthrough single for the band off their 1987 album Document, Michael Stipe and Co. have gone on to not only sell millions of albums, but to be pivotal in the creation of alternative rock. They are the band that showed others in the underground music scenes that you can be big and not lose your artistic integrity. This model inspired bands like Nirvana, Butthole Surfers, Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth and countless others to break out of the underground scenes they played in and sign with major labels. Musically, R.E.M. influenced bands like Pavement, The Smiths and Radiohead, who were all pivotal in defining alternative music of the 90s.
In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 is a snapshot of a band at the peak of their popularity and creativity. Between 1991-94, R.E.M. even rivaled U2 for the title of “biggest rock band in the world,” having sold over 30 million records during that time. In Time includes most of the band’s biggest hits with the notable absences of “The One I Love” and “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”, as these were on their 1987 breakthrough album Document. Seeing as how many R.E.M. albums are hitting their landmark anniversaries (e.g. Monster turning twenty-five this year), past releases are getting deluxe reissues on both vinyl and streaming. Now Craft Recordings are reissuing In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 on 180-gram vinyl for the first time in over fifteen years.
The collection includes eighteen tracks and includes two songs previously unreleased before 2003, “Animal” and “Bad Day”, as well as two tracks that were previously only on soundtracks: “All the Right Friends” from Vanilla Sky and “The Great Beyond” from Man on The Moon. If having those songs on vinyl wasn’t enough, the collection has timeless classics like “Losing My Religion,” “Everybody Hurts,” “Stand,” and “Man on The Moon.” On the inside of the deluxe gatefold Michael Stipe discusses inspirations and factoids about each song on the compilation. For either the casual or die-hard fan of R.E.M., In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 is an essential component for any vinyl collection.
Photo credit: Keith Carter