In 1987 I stopped listening to the radio and started listening to two bands: the Violent Femmes and R.E.M. They defined my teen years and when I think back about the real joys of discovering new music, those are the bands and days I usually think about.
R.E.M. helped open my eyes to a whole genre of music and is one of the reasons my musical taste ended up where it is today (good or bad). So I am a bit biased when I say there is simply no way this album
could get lower than 9.5. The first disc includes, in my mind, many of the best songs released in the 1980s. The only way it could be better is if it included all of Reckoning, and Disturbance at the Heron House hadn't been relegated to the second disc. If you have young, impressionable kids and you care about their musical tastes, buy this album, play it regularly, and convince them that R.E.M. broke up around 1992. Actual rating: 9.7. Point differential: 0.2.
They're numbering the monkeys. The monkeys and the monkeys.