R.E.M. - Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011 Review

Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, All Incredible.

rating: 5

On 21st September 2011, one of the best, and most popular American rock bands of all time announced they will no longer be making music that has went some way to defining the €˜American Rock€™ genre. After over twenty years and countless classics, R.E.M. made the announcement that many had feared, but alas was all but expected. Having failed to reach the heights of their 80s and 90s material, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Peter Buck and Bill Berry called it quits. Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982€“2011 aside from being an epically long title verging on the philosophical, combines all of the hits from their early days on IRS Records to their timeless classics on Warner Bros. They have, as expected taken three or four of the best songs from each of their albums and formed almost like a jigsaw puzzle of where R.E.M began, and where they finished. It is a two disc epic, featuring three €˜new€™ songs, though sadly the chances of seeing them being performed are somewhat hampered by the fact the band doesn€™t currently exist anymore. However, should the inevitable lucrative reunion carrot be dangled in front of them, I would certainly be front and centre. The album begins with Gardening At Night from the barely-heard 1982 Chronic Town album, which vocals aside has got R.E.M written all over it. It has echoes of some of the better known and loved songs from the band, but for those interested in more than the most famous three or four songs from a band, this is a fascinating, catchy beginning to the band€™s career. Radio Free Europe, Talk About The Passion and Sitting Still all follow off 1983€™s Murmur album. Despite being only a year after Chronic Town, the advancement of the band was already noticeable, and Murmur started to give R.E.M the critical acclaim they deserved. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msWi0c4tHV8 The delightfully cryptic So. Central Rain (I€™m Sorry) and the toe-tapping, folky Don€™t Go Back to Rockville follow from Reckoning released a year after Murmur. R.E.M€™s music has got a fun, bouncing sound, but it is here Stipe and co. really came into their own. Perhaps due to a change in producer and a move to London, Fables of Reconstruction boasts a much darker and serious sound. Driver 8 and Life How We Live It are taken from this fantastic album, perhaps my favourite R.E.M album. For fans of pop-facts, Peter Buck admitted the chords from one of their biggest hits €˜Imitation of Life€™ came from Driver 8. When it comes to pop facts, I don€™t disappoint. Begin the Begin and Fall on Me are taken from the penultimate IRS Records album Lifes Rich Pageant. These two are at total ends to each other, one quite loud and rock, the other quite bluesy and fueled by Stipe aching and straining over what a sound that is inherently R.E.M. Perhaps, for the non-hardcore fans, it is roughly around here that you begin to recognise some songs. Before R.E.M. made the leap to Warner Bros., they released Document, and from it comes the marauding Finest Worksong and the fun, tongue-in-cheek It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine). What I love about this album is that the roots of R.E.M aren€™t shoved in at the end or on some bonus disc, but rather put right at the start, fronted and publically displayed for all to see. While the band had been constantly receiving more and more praise, there is a noticeable rise in popularity with the next batch of songs. The One I Love, Stand, Pop Song 89 and Orange Crush all stem from Green, their first major release on Warner Bros. The album reached number 12 in the US Billboard Charts, and the R.E.M. we love came to fruition. Each of these songs show a band confident in themselves and their ability. Exciting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ2yXWi0ppw The first disc finishes with 1991€™s Out Of Time, boasting the timeless Losing My Religion, the lesser known Country Feedback and my favourite Shiny Happy People. There isn€™t a soul on the Earth that hasn€™t heard Losing My Religion, and to chart the progress from Chronic Town to Out of Time, and have it cover only half of the R.E.M story is a fairytale of a rock band doing what they want for as long as they want. The first disc finishes on the start of the band€™s commercial success, and disc two simply lifts the baton and runs as far as possible, as fast as possible. Beginning with Automatic for the People, disc two comes complete with The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight, Everybody Hurts (perhaps you have heard that one), Man On the Moon and the gorgeous Nightswimming. The confidence the band exudes is shown in the head-banging What's the Frequency, Kenneth? from Monster 1994, New Test Leper and Electrolite from 1996€™s New Adventures in Hi-Fi, and At My Most Beautiful from 1998€™s Up (not the Disney film€). Some of these songs it is possible to forget about, but I urge you to forget that Rihanna song, and make room for these. You€™re life will be much richer for it. A true R.E.M. greatest hits wouldn€™t be complete without The Great Beyond from Man on the Moon, 1999, Imitation of Life from Reveal, 2001, Bad Day from their first greatest hits album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988€“2003 and the painfully-beautiful Leaving New York from 2004€™s Around the Sun. In these four songs, spanning five years for the band, the prowess of R.E.M seems to peak somewhat. Commercial success dried up and so too did the classics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_JnCWT-_O8&ob=av2e Before the album rounds to a close, there is still time for a few songs people have probably not heard from a few albums people probably haven€™t bought, including Living Well Is the Best Revenge and Supernatural Superserious from 2008€™s Accelerate, as well as œberlin, Oh My Heart and the awkwardly-titled Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter, all taken from Collapse into Now, released towards the end of this year. Three new songs, as I said, do appear at the end. A Month of Saturdays isn€™t quite as special as the middle chunk of this album, sounding more like R.E.M€™s earlier work than the more familiar stuff. We All Go Back to Where We Belong is a dream-like song, echoing Everybody Hurts and Leaving New York. While the band never seem to be openly trying to copy their earlier stuff, they have created a sound that is inherently theirs and that no-one can take. Hallelujah rounds off the album and indeed their career. It is a magical, emotional, synopsis of where the band started and what they have achieved. It makes me sad to be a R.E.M fan, knowing that they may never release another record, but it makes me proud to have been a dedicated fan for many years, and I urge and beg of you to buy this album. It charts one of the most influential American bands from their timid beginnings to the height of their career and right back again. If you are ever to buy one Greatest Hits in your lifetime, make this it. Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, All Incredible. R.E.M's Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982€“2011 is out today.

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