The topic of "What is REM's best album" is exactly the sort of topic that is designed to set internet forums alight, and it is one that has been dissected many ways, it's one of the great things about the band that there's so many different sides to their albums.
For me though, this is one of the big ones. As described in the essay in the new accompanying booklet, it's a muscular album, the production is clear and clean, and most of all it is a consistent set of strong songs. Fireplace perhaps feels a little out of place on the album, a b-side that accidentally made the big time, but even that isn't a really bad track. And then there's 'The One I Love", "It's The End Of The World As We Know It", and "Finest Worksong", three different singles but all very memorable. This album is very much the sound of REM as a rock band, the songs are often uptempo, the guitars often crunchy. The remaster sounds good, but it's the underlying album that's excellent and a 5 star effort - though really if you just want Document, you can buy Document (Remastered)
which is an older reissue that actually contains bonus tracks not in this version.
So for your extra cash, what do you get here? A large cardboard box (in line with the last couple of REM reissues) filled with extra paper (postcards and a poster, which will likely stay in the box and are all a bit pointless, even more so for a band with REM's green credentials). A new booklet with an essay on the album which doesn't really have much to add. And then a second CD with a live show from the same era, featuring most of the album's songs and several older tracks as well. This is the real draw for the extra expense and it's an interesting listen. Most of the songs sound a little rawer and looser, as you'd expect from a live recording, most notably Lightnin' Hopkins without the studio bass sounds over the drum pattern. And The One I Love kicks off in a low key fashion before turning into the album version. Is it essential? No. But as a document of REM in 1987 it'll do.
So 4 stars, mainly from a value for money perspective, because although the album itself is great, unless you really want to hear the live performance you may as well go for a single CD version.