As years have passed, I’ve increasingly looked at R.E.M. as a band that broke up in 1997, with Bill Berry’s departure. The band put out ten albums before that point and five after, but those five never quite felt like “real” R.E.M. albums.
I found something to love in each of them when they were released (even Around the Sun, by far their weakest record) but looking back on R.E.M.’s career in total, it definitely splits into two eras.