And I Feel Fine . . . The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 (EMI)

Compile the best of R.E.M.'s earliest output on one CD, and it's easy to see why it became one of the biggest bands in the world. A feeling of optimism overwhelmingly pervades Fine, a smartly sequenced collection spanning the years before the band from Athens, Georgia, reached major-label status. R.E.M. had nothing to lose as its members evolved from freewheeling garage-rock poets to influential pop storytellers, unapologetic about their lack of cynicism. Fine underscores this fact with the inclusion of tunes that are strident (a rabble-rousing "Begin the Begin"), winsome (the sepia-toned "Perfect Circle"), and gloriously weird (the disco-funkin' "Can't Get There From Here"). But R.E.M.'s un-self-conscious innocence is most obvious in the way the band infuses even the most melancholy songs with hope. Pretty pop gems dip and soar with jangly riffs, while even the murky "Feeling Gravity's Pull" finds redemption in Michael Stipe's soothing falsetto.

Fine's limited-edition bonus disc of rarities and band members' favorite tracks is an absolute treat for R.E.M. completists and bootleg collectors. Especially choice are the delicate slow-dance version of "Gardening at Night," a gorgeous and haunting demo of "Hyena," and mid-1980s live cuts.

Speaking of CD Review


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • At the Movies — Nosferatu @ Severance Hall

    • Tue., Oct. 25
  • Dave Attell @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Fri., Oct. 28
  • Matt Johnson's Dueling Piano Fiasco! @ Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

    • Fri., Oct. 28

© 2016 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation