9. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite - R.E.M.
It was a sight to behold when R.E.M. finally got the praise they deserved at the turn of the decade. After years of becoming one of the greatest college rock bands in the world, their run of albums from Green to Monster turned into some of the greatest alternative adventures the rock world had ever seen. Automatic for the People does tend to hold the spot as the group's most "grown-up" album, and yet no one seemed to tell Michael Stipe that when cutting one of the album's biggest hits.
Across the album, songs like Nightswimming and Man on the Moon wear their emotions on their sleeve, but The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite occupies a bit of a different lane. As Stipe sings a rapid fire "call me when you try to wake her," you almost find yourself trying to play catch-up with what you just heard.
However, it seems like Stipe himself is having a little too much fun doing this, as he breaks character right at the tail end of the final verse. After making allusions to the almighty bars of Dr. Seuss, you can hear Stipe crack up into laughter as he goes into the next verse. Even though a punch-in vocal would have sufficed here, the subtle tonal shift actually gave the track a whole lot more character. Despite alternative rock having to grow up, it didn't have to be dark and dour all the time.