is more than just a collection of REM singles. Instead, it gathers some of the band's favourite songs from the past 15 years. So well-known classics like "Man on the Moon", "Everybody Hurts" and "Losing My Religion" appear alongside slightly lesser-known gems like "Stand", "Orange Crush" and "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", making this an essential introduction to this acclaimed band. For REM fans, there are even two previously unreleased tracks, "Animal" and "Bad Day". Note:This is US version.
In 1988, REM were a cult on the cusp of major success. In 1992 they were somewhere close to being the biggest band in the world. In 2003, they're marginalised again, a middle-aged institution purportedly on the wane. Still, uninformed listeners to In Time
might find it tricky to work out which songs come from which era. The 18 singles collected here in non-chronological order show a band that's operated at a terrifyingly high standard throughout the period, so that less lauded songs like "The Great Beyond" stand proud alongside the familiar anthems from the early 1990s. Of course, these compilations are sent to irritate loyalists, whose relief at the inclusion of "E-Bow the Letter" (a mesmerising duet with Patti Smith
from 1996) will be undermined by the bewildering absence of 1992's tearjerking epiphany "Find the River". For a more comprehensive survey of REM's excellence, you'll also need The Best of REM
, the highlights of their elliptical early years. One suspects a box set which tells the full story of this enduring band can't be that far away. For now, though, In Time
will do well enough. --John Mulvey