R.E.M. Listening Club


I do like it Hyena. I guess it’s just a little unlucky to be amongst seven other songs that are incredible.

Put it this way - if it was in the middle of Around The Sun, I’d in all likelihood be droning on about how awesome this song was… :grin:


Yeah, I mean it’s coupled with Underneath the Bunker sandwiched between the two stunning double whammies of Fall On Me-Cuyahoga and The Flowers of Guatemala-I Believe.


Of all the IRS years albums Life’s Rich Pagent has always been the one for me I have found hardest to get into. I absolutely love side 1 (Dinner Side) - Begin the Begin continues their run of absolutley brilliant opening tracks - but to me the quality falls off on the second half of the album. I’ve never been a big fan of The Flowers of Guatemala and Superman just feels like a bit of a throw-away cover song to end the album on.


I was gonna raise this. Even my CD copy has the tracklisting wrong. Weird that such a muck up slipped through.


Life Rich Pageant might have be rejigging my IRS ordering a bit (again!).

Over the years I would probably have put it second in my list of IRS records behind Murmur, but this seems daft now. I still like it but the second half now seems to disappoint more than before. It’s a more immediate, clear (vocals!) and rocking album, more straight forward, than what went immediately before. It definitely appealed to my younger self more than the older me thats listening now. It’s almost the opposite of Fables for me …

I think it’s a case of the fillery tracks being catchy and likeable. as opposed to dull or impenetrable.
I used to like Hyena and What if we give… much more but now they feel really throw away.
I’ve never rally dug Flowers of Guatemala, nothing has changed thee, it’s nice enough.
I liked and still like Underneath the Bunker. It’s one of those album track curios that succeeds for being different alone.
Superman I always thought was meant to just be a fun track, but it disappoints as a final track.
The rest is great. Begin the Begin remains one of the all time best openers for them.

Overall I’m, so far, ranking it either 3rd or a tie with Reckoning.

I think a lot of us here didn’t hear any of these albums in chronological order originally and I think that colours how you approach them.


I always got the impression the tracklisting was deliberately wrong.


What an odd thing to do if true.


To add ‘mystique’, perhaps? I’ll need to investigate.


The track listing on murmur is wrong to (the lp anyway)

I think that life rp will always be my favourite lp of this era.

I take the point about superman but I just see it as the victory lap after they’ve already easily won the race.


That’s a good way of describing Superman.


I’m sure my old CD version of this album listed Superman as ‘Superwoman’ on the actual disc.


Yeah, it’s the CD version I’ve got too - the mixed up tracklisting combined with the fact Swan Swan H should clearly be the album closer rather than Superman - and all the bonus tracks tacked on to the end - all meant that the end of this album has always collapsed into a bit of a mush for me.


Yes, definitely. I’ve enjoyed hearing the development of the band over the course of the last few weeks in a way I haven’t before.

Holding back from the temptation to rank the IRS albums until revisiting Document this week. Will get on that tomorrow!


So, on a related note, IIRC this is the order I listened to REM:
Automatic (aged 12, 1994…)
Out of Time
New Adventures
Lifes Rich Pageant
Around the Sun
Chronic Town
Collapse Into Now


I think mine would have been

Automatic (aged 13, 1994)
Out Of Time
Lifes Rich Pageant
Dead Letter Office / Chronic Town
then by release date from New Adventures on…


(basically, my 15-year-old self’s CD collection was close to 50% REM :smiley: )


I think I pretty much heard all of 90s R.E.M. before any other era. Monster first I think as I may have picked it up cheap in the local Woolworths(!), and then some order of Automatic, New Adventures/Up…and then I worked backwards firstly through the IRS years comp…and then eventually forwards.

So, I had a kind of reverse R.E.M. experience to a lot of fans I guess - I got into them at their commercial peak via the big songs and then discover that they were also this weird artsy band.


So, this week sadly brings us to the last record of the IRS years. Document is always the record I’d rank lowest from this era of the band - though conversely Stereogum rate this as their best ever album, so I guess this is in no way a broad consensus.

On the basis that I’ve never had a great deal of love for it, I’m looking forward to giving it a second chance this week and seeing whether a stronger sense of chronology lead to greater appreciation. Let’s go!



For me a friend at school lent me both Out of Time and Automatic sometime in '97 (so I would have been 16) and from there I went forward through their available Warner albums (I think Up was the first album of theirs I bought on release). It was probably a few years after that that I started working backwords to the IRS years.


Out Of Time was the CD I bought and was my introduction to REM. It really didn’t click that well with me to begin with and it took until seeing them performing Half A World Away on that BBC “No Nirvana” show to pique my interest again. Really knew nothing about their pre-OOT years before getting together with the missus in '95, as she had the IRS Best Of and I realised what I’d been missing out on. LRP is still my favourite of the IRS years, with Reckoning running it a close second.

I have been taking part in the weekly listen, despite never contributing to the thread and it’s been great to really listen and read other’s thoughts at the same time.

Going in on Document now!