Album: R.E.M, Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011 (Warner Bros.)


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The Independent Culture

The self-deprecating title conveys something of what made R.E.M. different from the ossified 1980s rock scene in which they began.

But not only did they change the course of rock music; they also sustained an inspired creativity for almost two decades, something that the career arc of this retrospective brings into focus, right down to the Bacharach-esque touches of the final unreleased tracks, which pleasingly bring things full-circle in certain ways.

It's certainly hard to think of another band as capable of reconciling apparent opposites – power and gentleness; euphoria and melancholy – within a single song. And they unquestionably had a greater hit ratio – in terms of hitting zeitgeist targets, rather than chart hits – than any other act of their era. Missing them? Oh yes.

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