I pride myself on my musical taste, and I always will. Throughout my adolescence, I avoided conforming to what was cool at the time, and I always listened to what I consider “proper” music. I also listened to music that I loved despite being branded an eternal loser for it.
R.E.M. are a group that fit that quota. They’re also a group who somehow managed to squeeze into the rigid confines of popular music, without losing any of their more oddball qualities.
They’ve been heavily praised for selected pieces of their work as a result. Everybody already knows “Losing My Religion.” “Shiny Happy People” makes it onto the playlists of every restaurant in the UK. “Everybody Hurts” is the classic post-breakup song. Yes, even I was guilty of playing that song over and over again when I was a lovelorn, heartbroken 14-year-old, a confession that I type with great shame.
Putting aside these fantastic but rather commercial classics, there is indeed more to R.E.M. than “Night Swimming” and “The One I Love,” which all happen to be “everyone’s favourite R.E.M. song.”
R.E.M. have produced numerous songs that don’t get even half of the credit they deserve. Ranging from their early days to their post-Bill Berry incarnation as a three-piece, R.E.M.’s fingerprints have been eternally printed upon the world of contemporary music with an undeniable influence.
The Z Review has therefore selected ten of R.E.M.’s best tracks that have never managed to reach over the bar of coolness. Enjoy.
“The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite” from Automatic for the People
“Imitation of Life” from Reveal
“Bad Day” from In Time
“Monty Got a Raw Deal” from Automatic for the People
“You” from Monster
“Sitting Still” from Murmur
“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” from Monster
“Texarkana” from Out of Time
“West of the Fields” from Murmur
“It Happened Today” from Collapse Into Now