R.E.M. in order

Not much going on to blog about… it’s April 10 and I’ve yet to see a 2008 movie. That has to be some kind of record. And it’s by choice, as nothing has opened that I’m really excited to see.

So, in the interest of new content, here is a list of all of R.E.M.’s full-length studio albums, in order of my preference:

1. Fables of the Reconstruction
Their finest hour.  A lovely mess featuring some of their best-ever songs — ‘Driver 8,’ ‘Can’t Get There From Here,’ ‘Maps and Legends’ and ‘Green Grow the Rushes.’

2. Automatic for the People
Elegant and majestic, a near-perfect album (only ‘Ignoreland’ keeps it out of the top spot).

3. Lifes Rich Pageant
The flip side of Fables, this album is the finest example of R.E.M. as rockers.

4. Reckoning
A bit unfocused, but absolute classics like ‘So. Central Rain,’ ‘Rockville’ and ‘Harborcoat’ are quintessential R.E.M.

5. New Adventures in Hi-Fi
Their last album as a foursome is one of their most underrated. As the title suggests, they took some chances and went in some new directions here with mostly smashing success.

6. Up
Their first album as a trio, and different from anything they’d done before. This is their most underrated album.

7. Murmur
The one that started it all, and basically ushered in the alternative movement. It’s worthy on that front, but also a fine collection of odd tunes.

8. Out of Time
Their first mega-success. The finest moments on the album are the ones that didn’t get much attention… give me ‘Half a World Away’ over ‘Losing My Religion’ and ‘Country Feedback’ over ‘Shiny Happy People.’

9. Accelerate
The “comeback” album. A breath of fresh, and frenzied, air following a couple minor disappointments.

10. Document
Another rocking good time, with some great political tunes… loses focus a bit at the end.

11. Monster
A grungy rock album with some excellent songs and a couple of turkeys.

12. Reveal
Not a bad album by any means — several of the songs are quite good — but probably their least memorable record.

13. Around the Sun
Again, the songs are pretty good but the production and instrumentation are largely sterile. This is the album that made Accelerate necessary.

14. Green
Only one song — ‘World Leader Pretend’ — that would find its way on an R.E.M. mix tape. The rest are disposable.

3 thoughts on “R.E.M. in order

  1. Amy says:

    With the exception of the three albums we’ve been mentioning on the original thread (Fables, LRP and Automatic), I would have a difficult time recalling what songs make up any of these other albums. I guess it goes back to the comment I made on the So thread and that Dana just made on this thread. With limited musical listening time, I will gravitate to my first loves, with only a couple of exceptions (“Nightswimming” created one of those for Automatic for the People). As much as I love R.E.M. and would want to give whatever they came up with a chance, I already have enough R.E.M. songs that I adore to keep me satisfied. So let’s hear it for Fables of the Reconstruction!

  2. The Editor says:

    You left out Chronic Town?

    • Clay says:

      Yes.. I ranked the band’s “full-length” albums. If I were to include Chronic Town, I’d probably slip it in around #6.

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