Photography by me.
I first really fell in love with REM with Green. 1988, I was what, 15? It was before the years of prog when I was still wading through the music world, trying all kinds of stuff, whatever tickled my cockles. I loved “Stand”, hard. Bought the record and wore the fuck out of the vinyl! Then I saw an uncensored version of “Pop Song ’89” on a friend’s cable late one night and well yeah, I was a smitten kitten.
I didn’t dig into their older stuff at the time, I was still just a poor kid finding out what’s what, pulling away from Top 40, pulling away from the kids around me, dabbling in whatever sounded decent that anyone had a copy of a copy of a casette that I’d get my hands on.
But before I could really dig my teeth into them, Out Of Time came out and I was the first person to call them sell-outs. Big hits, MTV awards, rap, and “Shiny Mother Fucking People”. I said some mean things to my girlfriend about the album she loved. Of course, later, I learned to love that album.
Then Automatic For The People came out when I was living in this garage apartment in Tampa, doing the chef thing, riding bikes & my moped, living life (mostly at Joffrey’s, the local coffee shop). It was with AftP that I finally started digging into their back catalogue, mostly thanks to my neighbor who I’d sit on our little porch with and drink beers listening to him play old REM albums.
It was after that my love of REM became a genunine relationship. Looking back, it’s strange, I can remember where I was, what I was doing, etc, the first time I heard each of their new albums. From Green to Collapse Into Now. Strange, eh? I remember sitting in my living room playing New Adventures for the first time. I remember being in my car on a long drive home listening to Reveal. I remember having friends over for a dinner and playing Up in the background for the first time. I remember listening to Monster back in college in my apartment before digging back into studying and watching the premiere of the video for “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth” and seeing Stipe with his newly stiped hair. God I loved that album.
And I love all their albums. From the mumbling old gems to the experimental trilogy post-Berry, to these last two kicks in the nuts, and everything in between. My favourites? Ooo… tough one, but I’ll narrow it down to three, Green, Automatic, and Reveal (yes, Reveal, a totally underrated amazing album, fuck off). I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. When you take into consideration their quality, quantity, & longevity, REM is easily the greatest American band… ever.
Deal with it.
But sadly the boys have decided it’s time to move on from the band, do their other things instead of forcing it forward, good for them. But what does that mean for me, the life long fan??? One word: Mixtape.
Oh boy oh boy oh boy I hope you are ready for this! But I’m going to wager dollars to donuts you ain’t! Here’s what we did, we simply built the best REM (according to me) mixtape possible, 2.5 hours broken into 4 sides covering all the full releases and a bunch of gems in between! It’s the best god damn compilation of REM songs ever, for casual fans, people who lost track over the years, hard core fans, and people who ask, “R.E.What?”, all of you, it’s just awesome stuffed with epic! Yeah, you could say I’m pretty happy with the way it came out.
Stipe & the crew, thanks for an amazing 31 years, you soundtracked my life for 23 of them and I’m eternally grateful. Now, let’s send them off in proper tsuru-style as…
Calling All In Transit: The Very Best Of REM (According To Me)
Full zip of the tracks. ;)
Feels good, doesn’t it??? Feels… fine.