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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Document

R.E.M.

1987

Document

Album Summary

Document is the fifth studio album by American rock band R.E.M., released on August 31, 1987, by I.R.S. Records. It was the first album by the band to be produced by Scott Litt.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.56

Votes

6124

Genres

  • Rock
  • Indie
Reviews
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View Author
Wed Aug 04 2021
5

Interesting that this is the one that finally broke Stipe and Company through. Maybe listeners were just yearning for fire. R.E.M are forever on my list of Top 5 all-time favorite bands. Sometimes they're even number one on the list. Personally, I rank Murmur, Automatic for the People, Reckoning, and Fables of the Reconstruction ahead of this one. It's their first album produced by Scott Litt, and to my ears, the first full album where Stipe's vocals are firmly front and center - no more trying to decipher what Michael was singing about (and R.E.M. famously never printed their lyrics in liner notes, at least not until "Up" and Bill Berry retired). It still allowed for an ironic misheard lyric during "End Of The World". I know I wasn't alone in thinking he sang "no beer" instead of "no fear" (and frankly, I prefer "Uh oh, this means no beer"). The band's secret sauce has always been Mike Mills' backup vocals, which are also prominently displayed here. I love his "Time I spent some time alone" refrain on "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)". That song provides a better history lesson than Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" ever did. It made me want to learn more about Lenny Bruce, Lester Bangs, book burning, and cheesecake. Mills' backup vocals shine on every track, "Lightnin' Hopkins" in particular. That's my favorite track on the album. First appearance of a saxophone on an R.E.M. album. It shows up at the end of "Fireplace". Maybe Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe knew fire was the key to finally crack the Top 10 (it seems fire is mentioned on at least half the songs). This is the album (along with Automatic For The People) that rewards repeat listening. Go for the 25th Anniversary Remastered Edition, so you can keep listening to their Work Tour show from the Netherlands in support of this classic album. Everyone should hear the live version of "So. Central Rain" on that edition before they die.

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Mon Jul 26 2021
5

I was rather devoted to this band in the 80s and into the early 90s. Always loved their style. Stipe is a heck of a lyricist and I like his voice. I'm still a huge Mike Mills fan. Bill Berry is so solid. I don't recall seeing or hearing Peter Buck's name in any discussions about great rock guitarists, and I think that's a shame. To me, one of the clearest hallmarks of a rare and special guitarist is I can tell who it is as soon as they start playing, and Peter Buck is in that small group of guitarists with a true signature sound. I am not interested in someone's shredding ability, hyperspeed, or whatever...I want to hear your unique voice, regardless of instrument. Love these guys and this is a strong album.

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Mon Jun 28 2021

Cannot stand R.E.M.

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Tue Apr 13 2021
5

England was slow to catch on to the REM thing, and I feel I sort of missed the boat because of that. If they had caught me late 80s/ early 90s, at my most impressionable I think I'd be a total fanatic. They are really good. I know most of the songs here, but had no idea these were from 87. I feel my youth was robbed of REM. Love it.

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Tue Dec 08 2020
2

Has some solid songs, but REM doesn’t always do it for me.

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Sun Feb 28 2021
4

I've heard 2 songs from this but never bothered with 80s REM on the whole, so kinda interested to see if this grabs me. First song is pretty cool, kinda heavier rock than I expected. The rest is really good, this is a great album. 4/5 easy. Would give it 5 but Michael Stipe hates Australia so gotta chip him for that lol.

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Tue Oct 20 2020
5

Athens' finest. Been a big fan of REM thru my dad. First time I've sat down and listened to Document though. Lot of great ideas on here that make for a truly monumental alternative rock record. Favorites tracks: "Exhuming McCarthy", "Strange", "Finest Worksong"

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Sat Jan 16 2021
5

No thanks

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Really enjoyable listen. Learned from Reames that your pronounce every letter when saying the band name.

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

Da bomb dot com

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Mon Feb 15 2021
5

So many good songs

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

Another great collection of songs!

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

This was a meaningful album for me

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

New goodeeeeez

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

Great, a pleasure to listen to. I've heard a Best Of from REM quite a few times, but this was the first time I listened to a full album of theirs. I don't think there wasn't a single song on it that wasn't very good.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
5

Their finest hour

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Mon Aug 02 2021
5

I think there is a strong case for this album being their best.

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Fri Aug 06 2021
5

Totally awesome.

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Wed Sep 08 2021
5

I think this may be R.E.M.'s finest album. It's the perfect blend of their early rawness and later more pop-sounding music. A masterpiece. 5 stars.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Reminded me of how great REM was and I never even heard these songs before, except End of the World.

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Tue Nov 23 2021
5

Oh I already know this album. Fantastic

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

Loved this album, REMs best work

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Sat Jan 08 2022
5

What an impact this made on me as an innocent teenager! REM came to me from another planet where I started to think about Jingoism and Realpolitik. Plus the prevalent dark southern funky groove. I was also mesmerized by the winding, braiding lyrical loops... "They've gathered up the cages, the cages and courageous, The followers of chaos out of control." "Throw the walls into the fireplace." "...point to point. Point observation, children carry reservations" .. and so on. Not sure what the scientific designation might be. But I'm sure Scott & Scott on “R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: ME?" ripped into that topic at some point in-between recursive episode bits.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

Knew a couple wasn’t too shabby for a nice easy mornings listen

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Fri Feb 25 2022
5

Classic brilliant REM (but I'm biased - I saw the Green tour live back in ooh 1989?)

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Fri Mar 04 2022
5

Classic work from a great band

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

Great Album First time listening loved hearing song from the past. Besides the more well known songs also enjoyed Strange and Oddfellows Lodge 151.

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Thu Mar 17 2022
5

Awesome

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Fri Apr 08 2022
5

great

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Wed Apr 13 2022
5

The REM most people remember. I grew up to this album. The perfect mix of mysticism, poetry and a little politics. And oh that guitar. LEONARD BERNSTEIN!

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Fri Apr 15 2022
5

I used to think that Michael Stipe was the best thing about R.E.M., but now I think R.E.M. is the best thing about R.E.M. The band works so seamlessly and enthusiastically together. It feels like their friendship and deep collaboration lends itself to an optimism in the music. Long live R.E.M.

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View Author
Tue Apr 19 2022
5

This album was a solid fixture in my brain when I was 16 years old. The first time I drove on my own to a concert was to see R.E.M., in support of this album in the fall of '87. I listened to Document constantly in those days, so it means a great deal to me and is tied to so many memories. But it's also just a great album to listen to, even now. Every song is engaging and memorable. Document was the album that first brought R.E.M. into the mainstream spotlight in a major way. The quality of the album is terrific, with the band going for a tighter, more accessible musical style than on their earlier albums. The cryptic/quasi-political/frequently confounding/strangely whimsical lyrics are a deal breaker for some, but they shouldn't be. This is really an excellent album from one of the most uncompromising bands in rock, playing at their peak. They also opened the door to broader success for a lot of alternative bands with this album, and I'm forever grateful for that. Fave Songs (All songs, in order from most to least favorite): Welcome to the Occupation, Oddfellows Local 151, The One I Love, King of Birds, Finest Worksong, It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine), Lightnin' Hopkins, Disturbance at the Heron House, Exhuming McCarthy, Fireplace, Strange

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Thu May 05 2022
5

My favourite REM album, and I still think it's their best.

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Overall not completely amazing but this gets 5 stars for the fact that "The One I Love" and "It’s the End of the World as We Know It" are so perfect.

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Mon May 09 2022
5

Enjoyed WAY more than I thought I would, I was kind of expecting weird weenie rock and got sick jams and great production.

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Wed May 18 2022
5

Great album!

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Tue May 24 2022
5

Excelente

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Tue Jul 05 2022
5

We'll, it has one of my favourite songs ever on it, and the One I Love too. Don't know the rest going in. I know people say REM were a huge influence on bands after them. I never quite got it, but the tracks that aren't the above are basically every American band from the first half of the 90s. And I finally get the REM leading to Radiohead thing. I'd give it a four as an album. But a five for influence. As that'd be 4.5, I'm not going to be mean, and I'm going to round it up. Side note... I'd completely forgotten that REM were a four piece originally!

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Sat Jul 09 2022
5

FIRE

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Sat Jul 09 2022
5

The 5th REM album was the first one I knew. They had a streak of 8+ five-star albums...

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Tue Jul 19 2022
5

This is a record slightly ahead of it’s time. Feeling like Sub Pop Seattle circa 1992 except five years early. This album also has my favorite R.E.M. track on it. A simply excellent display from a hall of fame band.

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

+ Its the end of the world as we know it + The one I love

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Fri Aug 19 2022
5

A classic and a favourite. Glad to have a reason to listen again!

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

I enjoyed this one a lot.

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

Just something I really like about the sound of REM. The guitars, Michael Stipe's voice, always a good time

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

In an era of repetitive and generic post punk new wave, these guys were doing something so unique and original and timeless, aging better than the biggest groups of the 80s. Michael’s voice is such a tool in the songwriting of the group and the quality production, guitar riffs, melodies, underrated harmonies, make this a perfect album.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
5

a classic for me, me enjoy

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Thu Oct 20 2022
5

Never listened to this before but I loved it. Dark and gloomy with very jangly guitars. Hits and deep tracks were great. And 1987 is the best year.

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Tue Oct 25 2022
5

As if the star rating didn't say it already, this was a dramatically more enjoyable experience than listening to "Automatic For The People." While I struggled between a 4 and 5 on this one, this represents REM at it's peak, IMO, so it gets the 5. It's the most benevolent blend of Michael Stipe — you can understand the words he's using, but I still don't know what he's taking about, and he's painting just outside the lines of his range and sweet spot as a vocalist. The pacing of the album is excellent, paring REM at its most playful (End Of The World) with its most earnest (The One I Love) — at least on this album — and it all works really well. It's also the band at its best in terms of sharing vocal duties. Whoever produced this did a good job with the talents of the band members. Bill Berry's drums sound great (love the gated bass drum on "Lightnin' Hopkins"), Michael Mills is used to his best effect, Peter Buck has loads of different guitar sounds going on — good stuff. This, for me, is where everything coalesced and it never got better for the band.

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Tue Nov 15 2022
5

movimento rápido dos olhos

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Thu Nov 17 2022
5

Classic!

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Tue Nov 29 2022
5

What an absolute treat 80's R.E.M. is! Yes yes yes yes yes!! They are at the peak of their alt rock niche here, doing some of their very best work. Their fundamentally unique R.E.M. sound thrums through every note of every song so joyfully. I love all the tracks, can't pick a favourite. It's a perfect R.E.M. album. If you wanted to know who this band really is, all radio hits aside, this is the album to get deep into. It's just so bloody goddamn GOOD. Endlessly listenable because of that peppy playful instrumentation layered within the subtly moody and contemplative lyrics. There's just as much to enjoy when listening from the shallow end of the pool as there is when plumbing the depths. That's the best thing about R.E.M. - you can listen and find something interesting to consider or toy with on every level.

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Sun Dec 11 2022
5

Rem

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Mon Dec 12 2022
5

Yes

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Thu Dec 15 2022
5

One of my favorites from the 80s.

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Sat Dec 24 2022
5

A brilliant album, among their finest.

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Wed Dec 28 2022
5

Love me some REM.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
5

I knew this album anyway, although hadn't listened to it for a long time. Lovely blast from the past.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

Ohh this R.E.M. album I really enjoyed. It sounded great. Maybe I like the earlier stuff than the later album that I got.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

love it

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Fri Feb 03 2023
5

Jangly masterpiece

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Mon Jan 11 2021
4

Really Enjoy Music ^______^

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

4/5. Grungy rock with lyrical streaks, another favorite classic.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

Realpolitiks

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Thu Mar 11 2021
4

It's a good record. I can listen to it while I work.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
4

Nice late 80s album! Love "The One I Love" and "The End of The World".

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Wed May 26 2021
4

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!

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Sat Jan 16 2021
4

Need to dive deeper in the catalog!

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Fun!

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Tue Jun 29 2021
4

Good album. Singles are stellar. Lots of great tracks sounding more 90s than 80s. Solid album front to back

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Thu Apr 22 2021
4

It's funny looking at the plays on spotify, it feels like everyone just stops this album after "The One I Love" The first half of the album was pretty great, with "Exhuming McCarthy" a great hidden gem. Ya'll know what the best song is already.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Favorite: It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

Excellent album, flows quickly and production is spotless. You can see how they were a favourite of Kurt Cobain after this .

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Wed Mar 17 2021
4

7

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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

Really great album. I had never listened before and I was pleasantly surprised. There's a reason they are such a huge influence.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

Still sounds great. An early peak.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Eh...I can appreciate the art here, but this IS NOT for me. LMAOOOO.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
4

false

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Mon Feb 08 2021
4

Weird how much of a Talking Heads/TMBG vibe I get from this album. R.E.M. lyrics were so on the nose and political. I never really thought about it before.

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Wed Apr 28 2021
4

Some good classics

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Tue Jan 19 2021
4

One of my favorites as a kid, only a few memorable tracks though

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Mon May 03 2021
4

Good album, 4 given but would say 3.75 - 3 is just too low a score

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Sun Apr 25 2021
4

4/5

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Good album. Great bass. Thoroughly enjoyed

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Wed May 19 2021
4

One of alt rock 80s jewels. They never did a bad album, and this one is one of their best

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Tue May 11 2021
4

4.2 - Shimmery pop rock that fits snugly into the late-80s indie era and also signals musical acts to come. Michael Stipe's vocals are throaty, muscular and clear. The album starts strong with "Finest Worksong", coming a peak in the middle with "It's the End..." and "The One I Love."

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Thu Jun 17 2021
4

4/5

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Tue Jan 19 2021
4

Really my style, easy on the ears

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

8

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

Solid 80s rock with interesting lyrics and a good amount of variety! I like his voice fine overall but there’s a few spots where it’s abrasive. Might be benefitting a half star or so from nostalgia, my dad plays these songs so much.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

A good album, really a record of it's era. I have fond memories of this album when it was new. I wouldn't put it on to listen to it now though - so only 4 stars.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

An all-around good album. Definitely will listen to again.

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Tue Mar 09 2021
4

Great album

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Wed May 26 2021
4

It's the big popular REM album. The one with "The One I Love" and "It's the End of the World". But this is solid alt rock that I can get behind. Admittedly not very familiar with REM outside of the hits. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy something like this though.

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Mon Mar 01 2021
4

Excellent!

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Mon May 10 2021
4

Unos R.E.M. primigenios, crudos en su sonido aún a veces garajero y metálico, de reminiscencias grunge por momentos. Potente.

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Sat May 01 2021
4

Not my favorite REM album but it has some nice classic songs. The first few songs are repetitive but it gets better.

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Sat Mar 06 2021
4

Liked this more than I expected. Good structure, great lyrics, and honest presentation. That opening track is a ripper, too.

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Sat Mar 20 2021
4

Сложно слушать 30 лет спустя

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Wed Mar 31 2021
4

Really enjoyable, but most of the songs are a little repetitive. That being said, The One I Love is my favourite

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