R.E.M. Document Review

Album. Released 1987.  

BBC Review

The album that took them from college radio favourites to mainstream success.

Tim Cunningham 2007

Back in 1987 R.E.M. were the darlings of college radio and their quirky alternative act had not yet registered on the global stage.

Document was to change all that by being so bloody marvellous that even the mainstream listening audience took the Athens, Georgia-based four-piece to their hearts and propelled them on the road to international superstardom.

Containing their first top 10 hit in the States, The One I Love, and also providing the band with their first platinum album, Document showcases a band at the top of their game and hints at more stunning work still to come.

Featuring Michael Stipe’s increasingly political lyrics and distinctive vocals, combined with Peter Buck's elegantly twisted guitar lines and the superb rhythm section of Mike Mills and Bill Berry, Document doesn’t lose a trick and is a complete rock album from start to finish.

The second single off the album, It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine), cracks along at a scintillating pace and, whilst it didn’t make a big impression on the mainstream charts, is a firm favourite with fans at live shows.

R.E.M. display a wonderful versatility in their songwriting here, and are not content to pen tracks aimed simply for radio play. Other highlights include the wonderfully feedback laden intro to Oddfellows Local 151, the catchy Exhuming McCarthy and Finest Worksong which gives us the cue that this is definitely their finest hour.

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