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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. Continuing in the vein of their previous album Lifes Rich Pageant, Document features more audible lyrics and a harder rock sound in comparison to the band's earlier releases. The album became R.E.M.'s greatest success at the time, giving the band their first top 10 hit ("The One I Love") and album, peaking at number 10 on the Billboard 200.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.55

Votes

13437

Genres

  • Rock
  • Indie

Reviews

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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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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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Thu May 06 2021
4

While not exactly my usual cup of tea, you have to recognize that this is definitely a well made album, even by today's standards. Timeless songwriting and production value that still holds up, even having been produced in the midst of mid-80's big synth/reverb fads. classic, for sure and glad I was made to listen to it again

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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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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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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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Wed Jan 24 2024
4

I've never been a huge fan as I found them a bit repetitive - maybe the sound of Stype doesn't quite do it for me. But this is a really good album with some great songs and very consistent.

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Tue Jan 23 2024
3

The godfathers of Indie Rock. I prefer Automatic for the People, but there is no denying the success of Document. Not many pop/rock bands in 1987 were adding dulcimers and watching the songs climb the charts. Stipe jumped the shark in the following years, but this album is solid.

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Tue Jan 23 2024
3

Objectively this is a good album, the lyricism and instrumentation is brilliant. It's surprising this is from 1987 not 1997, what a pioneering sound. Clearly inspiring for the grunge alternative scene that followed, you can hear the tendrils this type of album left for artists to come.

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Tue Jan 23 2024
3

Like most of the albums on here this album has obvious merit. It sounds great and the production and song writing were top notch. I tried to find a foothold in so that I could enjoy is with my heart rather than my head, but didn't manage it.

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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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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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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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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

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

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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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Wed Jan 24 2024
4

Haven't listened to this since I obsessively listened to "The End Of The World As We Know It" back when Independence Day came out

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Fri Jan 19 2024
3

I like the genre name Jangle Pop. I always thought that End of the World was really cheesy but when it is played in the middle of the album it jams pretty hard. REM has always been a cool band to listen to, something about the singers voice is very nice. Nothing super special though

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Fri Jan 19 2024
3

Not a bad album. Some songs I don't recall hearing. some good hits. 3 stars

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Fri Jan 19 2024
3

Like american idiot but the 80s

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Mon Jan 22 2024
3

After listening to this album I now understand why I can't stop mistaking REM songs for They Might Be Giants songs. Some solid late 80s Indie Rock with well-known songs like It's The End Of The World As We Know It (go listen to the Malcom In The Middle theme...), flanked by tracks with some surprisingly recognizable sounds. Think Butthole Surfers (Pepper), Beck (Loser), and maybe even some Barebacked Ladies - had no idea that this REM album proceeded all of those bands and their hits.

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Mon Jan 22 2024
3

Interesting mix of punk and prog rock, with arpeggiated distorted guitar riffs, punchy active bass lines, and shiny reverb drums. Vocals are flat and uninspiring, and melodies are barely present and muddied with nonsense lyrics and distracting backing vocals. Album really shines in the middle as the sound focuses more on driving beats and clear guitar work. I don’t understand the R.E.M. hype, but an enjoyable enough listen. Stand out tracks include “Disturbance at the Heron House”, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”, “The One I Love”, and “Fireplace”.

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Tue Jan 23 2024
3

I feel like this is a 2.5-2.75, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by this. The hits are true hits, so I’ll give this a 3. Good harmonies, good musicianship.

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Sat Jan 27 2024
3

Nr. 110/1001 Finest Worksong 4/5 Welcome to the Occupation 3/5 Exhuming McCarthy 3/5 Disturbance At The Heron's House 4/5 Strange 3/5 It's The End of the World 4/5 The One I Love 4/5 Fireplace 3/5 Lightnin' Hopkins 3/5 King Of Birds 3/5 Oddfellows Local 151 3/5 Average: 3,36 Pretty good, but their style isn't my personal favorite.

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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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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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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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Mon Aug 02 2021
5

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

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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 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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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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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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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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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

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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Fri Aug 19 2022
5

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

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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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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 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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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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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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Sun Feb 26 2023
5

Brilliant, with a few tracks that are even better than that! It's the end of the world ... and To the one I love are stone cold classics. Also features the shortest review of another artist's album - " 'Standing on the Shoulders of Giants' leaves me cold" - obviously not a fan of Oasis's later work

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Wed Mar 01 2023
5

Know this album! Quite good. Probably their third or fourth best record.

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Thu Mar 16 2023
5

It's the End of the World as We Know It is is a gem of a song but the rest of the album is pretty damn good too

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Mon Mar 27 2023
5

Psst. Hey, you! Yes, you! Let me tell you a secret. Please don't tell anyone. Even though I consider myself a big rock fan, until today I haven't listened to any R.E.M. album yet. I know their songs mainly because of various radio stations. Alright. What about the "Document" album? I liked it. I appreciated that it felt homogeneous, and created a whole. 4.5/5

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Thu Mar 30 2023
5

Liked every single song on this record. A strong album overall, and probably the best I've heard from them.

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Sun Apr 02 2023
5

If I had to pick a single REM album to recommend, this is probably the one. It's a high point of a stellar career.

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Mon Apr 17 2023
5

Brilliant. Michael Stipe manages to fit so much emotion in his vocals and the music is very catchy.

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Fri May 12 2023
5

This is a fucking great album! I was familiar with the big two singles, of course, but from start to finish this is just fantastic. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" may be overplayed and joked about too often, but it's just a beastly good tune. I think the final two songs are my favourite, but I feel like my favourites may dance around this album with every listen. Also, I don't know how it took me this long in my life to make the connection that R.E.M. and The Tragically Hip are like poetry rock cousins. It definitely would have been interesting to have Stipe and Downie collaborate.

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Sun May 14 2023
5

I have to begin by saying that I am a MASSIVE R.E.M. fan. Their first FIVE (!) albums before this are all perfect. Like seriously, there is no sign of weakness in FIVE albums. Insane. Even though I feel that this is the first R.E.M. album with any slight lack of perfection, it’s still amazing and deserves a full count of stars. I mean, it has two stone cold classics that aren’t even the best songs on the album. Who can complain?

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Fri May 26 2023
5

This is an all timer. Reminds me of high school. Also, great writing.

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Sat May 27 2023
5

A great record from top to bottom from a band that was growing ever more confident and both toughening and loosening up their sound. In positioning as a more traditional rock band, R.E.M. also expanded and enhanced their sound, with consistently strong and interesting results. The songs are all substantive, whether oriented toward the fun and crowd-pleasing or darker notes. Trusting himself, Stipe is all in on every song. “Finest Worksong” was/is a great opener, both in recorded and live forms (suiting the bigger arenas where R.E.M. had landed and where they delivered awesome shows on this tour ). “Exhuming McCarthy” just bangs while “Occupation” and “Heron House” and “Oddfellows” are shadowy and edgy. “Lightnin’ Hopkins” rips and burns. “King of Birds” is lovely and haunting. The hits were/are hits for a reason and show the range of creativity here – "End of the World" is the aural equivalent of the cover of "Sgt. Pepper's" and awfully good fun in a mod-psychedelia sort of way. "One I Love" has never been a particular fave, but its classic simplicity packs contained power and demonstrates that they could deliver in the most straightforward ways, as well as in sprawling, outre, and even flat-out weird modes. Full disclosure: one's a total R.E.M. homer, having grown up in Georgia in the same generation, seen a bunch of shows across several tours, starting in bars and gyms with Reckoning tour. Their last several records leave one fully unmoved (so one's not totally unobjective), but one puts their first five (or even 10) records, very much including Document up against any other band’s on an all-time list. 4.5/5

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Tue May 30 2023
5

Just amazing to listen to. The non-singles are as good as the singles.

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Mon Jun 05 2023
5

Document No. 5! I love, love, love R.E.M. up to and including Monster, and then i just...... Don't. Luckily, this is one of their best albums and it is amazing 😁 5 / 5 stars.

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Mon Jun 05 2023
5

Listen To Me........ Love how prominent and well recorded the drums are on this. Not only a great album musically but also production wise. Document came out when I was in college and and when I had just broken up with my high school girlfriend. The One I Love hit just right at the time for sure, such a bitter song. 5/5

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Tue Jun 06 2023
5

Great album, includes two of my favourite R.E.M. tracks "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" and "The One I Love".

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Mon Jun 12 2023
5

Early doors R.E.M. Brings back a lot of great memories of when I was first getting into them. Document is definitely one of the best from the “IRS Years” before they switched record companies over to Warner.

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Tue Jul 11 2023
5

This album ruled. Really fun to listen, really interesting instrumentals, and the perfect voice to go with the subject matter and style. It is really funny to listen to "It's the End of the World as We Know It" from 1987 and compare it to today, when the world is considerably more warped then anybody could have imagined back then. Favorite track: The One I Love

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Wed Jul 12 2023
5

From the opening strains of the guitar, you know you're in for some solid rock genius. Definitely a top-25 rock album of all time. Every tune is good, the lyrics are great, and Mike Mills' backup vocals and harmonies are highly underrated as perfecting the overall sound of the band. Too many great songs to mention, but I'll just add that "The One I Love" is *not* the love song many of us thought it was. Oh, and I believe it was around this time that Rolling Stone proclaimed the band as "America's Best Rock and Roll Band."

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