‘Finest Worksong’ is the lead-off track on R.E.M.’s fifth studio album, 1987’s Document. It was the third single released, following the hits ‘The One I Love’ and ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).’
The band released an album per year from 1983 through 1988, including the holy trinity of Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction and Life’s Rich Pageant. This record followed those career-defining releases and was a bit of a departure both sonically and thematically.
I opted for random seeding in Montauk Madness, but the other avenue is to seed each particpant based on stature. That’s how March Madness works, with the #1 teams (based on record) facing off against the #16 teams in Round One.
That prevents any heavyweight matchups early in the contest. Ideally, you don’t want the two best teams in a division to battle on Day One.
Going that route in this contest, however, felt wrong. If I were to rank the participants before even setting the bracket, wouldn’t I be defeating the purpose of the game? If a top contender loses in Round One because of an unlucky matchup, well, that probably would have happened in Round Three of Four anyway.
These R.E.M. theme weeks break down pretty conveniently into three sets of five albums each, with each of those sets representing a different stage in the band’s career.
The first week, spanning Chronic Town through Lifes Rich Pageant, captured the college years, when R.E.M. first broke onto the scene and popularized a new sort of cerebral alternative music. If I had to pick a favorite span it would be that one… something about that sound just hits me in the gut. But this second week’s batch of albums would be a close second.