R.E.M. Delivers Swan Song with New Retrospective

Collection features material from both IRS and Warner Brothers years.

By , Columnist

R.E.M. surprised fans with the announcement that they would “call it a day as a band” on Wednesday, September 21. Having recently released their 15th studio album, Collapse Into Now, R.E.M. obviously wanted to walk into the twilight with the best of their music following them.

It was not an easy decision. Nor was it an easy pill to swallow for many fans who can recall parts of their lives on the notes of R.E.M. songs. But life does that to you. It changes irrevocably. And as the members of R.E.M. have delivered their last, another chapter closes on an established era of rock and roll.

Following the R.E.M. announcement, Warner Brothers followed up with their own announcement of the coming arrival of a two-CD retrospective that will draw from both eras of the band. The new 40-song collection, R.E.M. Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982-2011, will cover the band’s entire career over important label years with IRS Records and Warner Brothers Records.

The IRS Records years featured some of their most loved releases, beginning with Murmur (1983) and finishing with Document (1987). From those albums came classic songs like “Radio Free Europe,” “So Central Rain (I’m Sorry),” “Driver 8,” “Fall On Me,” “Superman,” “The One I Love,” “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and “Finest Worksong.” When that era ended, there was feeling of sadness from fans. That feeling arose from the fact that R.E.M. had signed to a major label, and that their music might be horribly impacted by the switch from a coddling independent label.

REMPartLies.jpgFans needn’t have worried at all. R.E.M. released Green in 1988, promptly dispelling all concern with songs like “Pop Song 89,” “Stand,” and “Orange Crush” from among the album’s 11 tunes. Thus began their Warner Brothers years. Their next, Out of Time (1991), brought out the reality that R.E.M. would be brilliant forever. It gave us classics like “Shiny Happy People” and “Losing My Religion.” But the truth is that almost any song from this album was single material. The UK rightfully blessed “Radio Song” as a single of worth, while it lay dormant everywhere else (thank you, UK!).

Automatic For the People (1992) delivered more impressive songs like “Drive,” “Man On the Moon” and more notably, “Everybody Hurts.” Monster (1994) and a declining string of successes followed and soon the writing on the wall began to reveal that R.E.M.’s time may have found its stopping point. As Michael Stipe so elegantly puts it, "…a wise man once said ‘the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave’."

With a massive selection of extraordinary tracks to choose from, R.E.M.’s attempt to create the perfect epilogue to their extraordinary career will find fruition on R.E.M. Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982-2011. This set will not only provide a definitive overview of the band from Athens, GA, but will also introduce three more new songs recorded after the end of the Collapse Into Now recording sessions. The new songs are “A Month of Saturdays,” “We All Go Back to Where We Belong,” and “Hallelujah.” “We All Go Back to Where We Belong” will be released as a single on October 18. This definitive greatest hits set will be made available on November 15.

R.E.M. Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982-2011

Disc 1:
Gardening At Night
Radio Free Europe
Talk About The Passion
Sitting Still
So. Central Rain
(Don't Go Back To) Rockville
Driver 8
Life And How To Live It
Begin The Begin
Fall On Me
Finest Worksong
It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
The One I Love
Pop Song 89
Get Up
Orange Crush
Losing My Religion
Country Feedback
Shiny Happy People

Disc 2:
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
Everybody Hurts
Man On The Moon
What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
New Test Leper
At My Most Beautiful
The Great Beyond
Imitation Of Life
Bad Day
Leaving New York
Living Well Is The Best Revenge
Supernatural Superserious
Oh My Heart
A Month of Saturdays
We All Go Back To Where We Belong

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Matt Rowe began his life with an AM radio, listening to anything that was considered music. Since, he has labored intently to build a collection of music, paring it down, rebuilding, and refining as he sees fit. His decided goal is to keep up with new music by panning for the nuggets among literal mountains…

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