Photographers: Jim McKey; Paula Court; Sandra Lee Phipps; Michael Meister.
R.E.M.'s final album for IRS Records, 1987's DOCUMENT was the Georgia quartet's commercial breakthrough. The initial single, the spookily obsessive "The One I Love," was an unexpected Top 10 hit, and its follow-up, the "Subterranean Homesick Blues"-style rant "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," became one of R.E.M.'s most renowned songs. The first R.E.M. album produced by Scott Litt (soon to be a frequent collaborator) DOCUMENT skillfully blends the commercial gloss of LIFE'S RICH PAGEANT and the mysterioso murk of FABLES OF THE RECONSTRUCTION, combining the best elements of both for what would soon become R.E.M.'s signature sound. (Note the thumping rhythm section on the opening "Finest Worksong" and the oddly buoyant melody of "Exhuming McCarthy.") The band even manages to salute one of its favorite predecessors by romping through a loose, fun cover of Wire's "Strange."
Rolling Stone (11/89) - Ranked #41 in Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums Of The Eighties" survey.
Q (7/99, p.136) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...makes interesting archival listening. It shows a group cresting the cusp between art-rock alternative-ism and chart friendliness....the general impression is of a band freed from constraints, rocking with a vengeance..."
Blender (Magazine) (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "On album five, R.E.M. went platinum for the first time..."