R.E.M. Singles Collected

(CD - EMI Music Distribution / Import #8296422)

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This 20-song collection of European singles and B-sides from the '80s is a good history of R.E.M. The A-sides chronicle the band's journey from college radio wonders ("Radio Free Europe" and "So. Central Rain") to international recognition ("The One I Love" and "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"). The B-sides fill in the gaps in the story, detailing the band's influences (a rather sunny version of the Velvet Underground's "There She Goes Again") as well as their sense of humor (the drunken rendition of "King of the Road"). Also included among the B-sides are the surf-tinged instrumental "White Tornado," which showcases Bill Berry's propulsive drumming, and a live version of "Time After Time," which starts off with Michael Stipe a cappella before transitioning into a poignant rendition of "So. Central Rain" done with only vocals and sparse electric guitar. With R.E.M.'s career spanning three decades, this collection is a great starter for fans who don't remember the band's early days or for those who want to reminisce.

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