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4.4 out of 5 stars205
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 17 November 2003
REM's long-awaited 'Best of' album is a must for anyone new to the band. It combines universally acclaimed tracks like 'losing my religion' and 'everybody hurts' with some of the lesser known but equally impressive numbers such as 'e-bow the letter' and 'orange crush'.
For die hard REM fans however, most of the songs here will feel slighlty overplayed and stale...unless you happen upon the magnificent special edition with the enhanced 'rarities and b-sides' supplement as I did. Most of the tracks on the main LP are understandably from the post 1990 era but disc 2 offers some fantastic reworked songs dating back to the early 80's, culminating in a painstakingly beautiful live version of 'Country Feedback' (in my opinion one of the best songs ever written).
Unsurprisingly after 20 years of unrivalled and unparralled rock songs, REM's 'In Time' sparked much debate as to which songs would actually appear on the album. With the exception of the new track 'Animal' I wouldn't argue with the choices made by the band, but this band has produced so many quality tracks you could almost release a 4CD collection - now that would be a driving album!!!
Fans of some of the early work should try to pick up any albums missing from your collection (Life's Rich Paegeant is not to be missed) - most stores are selling them off for a fiver - criminal! I would've like to have seen 'Find the River', 'So fast so numb' and 'starnge currencies' make an appearance on 'In Time' but I can't complain, I can listen to them whenever I like.
If this album serves to achieve anything new it is to answer the much fought question of greatness: U2 or REM? Sorry Bono, but'In time' blows the Irish band's 'Best Of' right out of the water.
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on 11 February 2010
A compilation album from REM, from 1988 to 2003, from "Green" to "Reveal", the period when it was commercially at its peak (we can argue whether it was their artistic peak as well; to me their best period in that regard was during the last years for the IRS label). Obviously, what makes a compilation album is a great job in selecting the material. There are many great songs here ("electrolite", "losing my religion", "man on the moon", "stand", "the great beyond", "bad day", "the sidewinder sleeps tonite"), but too many good songs were left out as well (for instance, "pop song 89", "world leader pretend", "get up", the untitled song from green, "near wild heaven", "shiny happy people"), and mediocre songs were selected instead ("animal", "all the right friends", "at the most beautiful"). So this is not the knockout album it could have been. Of course, this might just be my subjective opinion of what their best songs were during this period, but many songs left out of this album have been favorites of many of their fans, so it's hard to understand the rationale of the selection. I felt the compilation of the IRS years, Eponymous, did a far better job in presenting the band's highlights.
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on 26 May 2007
There may never be agreement on the best tracks of such an important, much-loved band. Universally successful groups like REM reach a great variety of people with diverse tastes, connecting with different sides of their musical personality. This, their second best-of, covers REM's albums with Warner, incorporating their most commerically successful period and taking us up to their more recent slip from the limelight. Still a great band, there is no disputing the fading of their relevance lately, but their time will come again. This collection concentrates mostly on their singles output, but somehow largley avoids the sunnier side. I think - and I think the diehards would agree - that this Best Of is at least a close representation of the Spirit of the band, something that can't always be said about such compilations. That said, there is also the irritating commercial imperative to include some new tracks which don't make the grade, but this is standard practise now.

I think there are some jarring exclusions - conspicuous in their absence - such as 'Drive', 'Country Feedback', 'World Leader Pretend', 'Crush With Eyeliner'. The albums Monster and Out of Time are only represented by one track each, criminal really, the most obvious omission being the latter's Shiny Happy People (but this is understandable). If the intention of this collection is to bolster the songs post-Automatic, then it succeeds to place them on a non-chronological platform with greats such as 'Losing My Religion', 'Man on the Moon', 'Nightswimming' etc. The overall effect is one of amazing consistency, but feels strangely downbeat, despite the inclusion of poppier moments such as 'Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite' and 'What's the Frequency Kenneth?'. Anyone for whom REM fell off the radar during the 90s will be blown away by E-Bow the Letter with Patti Smith, among their best ever songs. Quibbles aside, you can't beat the value of this CD for content. I don't normally mention the price of a CD when discussing its merits, but this really is a bargain!!
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on 2 October 2003
Although this isn't quite all of REM's Warner Brother singles (no Shiny Happy People, Lotus or Find the River, for example) there is still plenty here to remind the listener just how good a band they are at their best. It's impossible not to sing along to nearly all these songs, and it's wonderful to hear the lesser-known later singles like Reno and Daysleeper more than holding their own with classics like Losing My Religion and Everybody Hurts. With three solid new songs (especially Bad Day), this isn't only a must-have for anyone who doesn't own any of the band's albums since 'Automatic For The People', it's pretty much essential for anyone who loves feelgood, guitar driven pop rock, with the occasional twist. Pretty much peerless stuff.
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on 6 January 2007
Can the story of R.E.M. be told in one compilation? Possibly not, but In Time tries to tell half of the tale thus far. The band tried to take into account fan opinion when compiling In Time, though when it came down to it, the view of both themselves and Warner Brothers carried a heavier weight.

Warners wanted one of the catchy singles on it, R.E.M. were less convinced and only acquiesced to The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite. In the end, Shiny Happy People was left off at the band's request and in doing so, prevented In Time being a true Greatest Hits 1888-2003.

In Time is almost entirely made up of singles, apart from the strange decision to include All The Right Friends, an original track performed at R.E.M.'s first ever live performance in 1980, but never released on an album. Well, that's not entirely true. It did feature as a bonus track on an early 1990s German re-release of B-sides compilation Dead Letter Office... All The Right Friends, the lead track from the film Vanilla Sky, would perhaps have been better on the separately available limited edition Rarities disc.

All the big hits, apart from the aforementioned Shiny Happy People, are here, such as Man On The Moon, Losing My Religion, Everybody Hurts and UK smash E-Bow The letter, as well as two unreleased songs. The lead single was Bad Day, a song originally recorded for 1986 record Lifes Rich Pageant but subsequently omitted from it. R.E.M.'s guitarist Peter Buck wasn't so keen to see it be lost to time as front man Michael Stipe and slyly recycled it with a key change as the basic tune for It's The End Of The World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine). The other single was Animal.

Some fans might have wondered if a non-single like All The Right Friends could be on the disc, why not immensely popular non-single tracks like Country Feedback or World Leader Pretend? And where were Lotus, Bittersweet Me and Drive? I suppose you can't have everything. In truth, there's not a bad track on In Time.
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on 20 October 2003
Having had the pleasure to see them perform a near on greatest hits set at glastonbury this summer the chance to hear them all on one cd is an opportunity too good to turn down. New single 'bad day' fits in nicely though easily dwarfed in class by absolute classics 'losing my religion', 'man on the moon' and 'everybody hurts'.
Unsurprisingly 'shiny happy people' doesnt make an appearance but golden oldies 'stand' and 'orange crush' make the cut which makes for good listening. 'Imitation of life' and 'reno', both from gracefully received last album 'reveal' demonstrate the high standards R.E.M keep performing to.
Its great to see songs like 'E-bow the letter' and 'Electrolite' make it despite 'new adventures' not being as commercially accepted as previous albums such as 'automatic for the people' and 'out of time'. It gives great depth to the album and portrays all sides to R.E.M shown throughout their career.
Beautiful in places ('nightswimming'), rocking in places ('whats the freq...') and damm right catchy in others ('great beyond') it makes you question whether there lies an R.E.M song that anyone cant like. 'strange currencies' and 'drive' are definately missed but you cant have everything in life and there certainly isn't many bad tracks on this 'best of'!
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on 10 January 2004
The concept of this album promotes and draws a wide array of various music listeners to REM. From the catchy "Great Beyond" to the slow, tear jerking "Everybody Hurts" this album offers something for everyone. This album is great for the casual REM listener or somebody who is interested in the band but "hardcore" listeners should stick to the elder albums as there is not everything a true REM fan wants here considering it is mainly thir work from when they moved to the "Warner" label. This album is completely tasteful and is an example of the pure talent REM possess. Some unknown tracks are laso thrown in for good measure such as the previously unreleased "Bad Day" and the not so known "Stand." If this album does not appeal to anybody in the slightest way you should have no interest in REM but believe me you are missing out on one of the most perfect, long-term groups ever to hit the Earth. It is with work like this that REM attempts to strain even more people to give them a chance. So if you are interested in a wide variety of music pick this up and if you're not happy then you cannot appreciate the passion and excitement that goes into this music.
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on 27 November 2003
REM's anything is better than most band's best and this album does not put a foot wrong in ensuring 'tip of the iceberg' coverage of the band's achievement over the last decade and a half.
Everything crucial is there and the three new tracks should entice established fans.
Minor quibble over the ommission of 'Wake Up Bomb' from 'New Adventures etc' and a cover they did of Leonard Cohen's 'First We Take Manhattan' but at least 'Shiny Happy People' did NOT survive the edit!
What is most attractive is that this package sits well with the preceeding hits album 'Best of REM' in diligently highlighting the creative hotspots of possibly the most literate 'pop' band of the last twenty years.
Long may they run.
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on 24 September 2014
REM are undoubtedly one of the greatest rock acts of the last 30 years - U2, Radiohead, Muse and the rest don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as REM - and they should have had something so much better than this incredibly flawed release to be remembered by.

Yes, the songs included on this CD are of course, almost without exception, excellent. HOWEVER, attempting to compile a single disc "Best Of" covering a 15 year period for a band which recorded so many memorable songs in a wide range of styles is an impossible task, and one which should never have been considered. Whatever songs were selected, thousands of people would be disappointed, frustrated and/or angry at the glaring omissions.

Just some of the tracks which you will not find here are: Shiny Happy People; It's the End of the World As We Know It; Pop Song 89; Radio Song; Near Wild Heaven; Crush With Eyeliner; Strange Currencies; Bang & Blame; Radio Free Europe... the list goes on and on. A terrible shame: a missed opportunity to create a wonderful double cd - or even a superb 3 or 4 disc set!

Next, and I'm sure not everyone will agree me here but this is a pet hate of mine - I detest seeing new material, unreleased songs, on Best Of / Greatest Hits albums. Two of the songs here fall into that category.

It's hard to see who this release is aimed at. Any real fan of the band will already own all of the songs except perhaps the two new ones (which aren't actually very good in comparison to the rest of the tracks here); and for new fans or those curious to obtain a sample of what REM are capable of, well this release doesn't come close to providing even a satisfactory overview of their output.

Finally, it is a write-protected release which means you can't copy it to your mp3 player or play it on your PC etc. To make matters worse, I find that the process of copy protecting a CD seems to have an adverse effect on the sound quality too.

In summary, there is a reason why you can pick up a copy of this for a couple of pounds... it's because that's all it is worth!

My personal recommendation would be to buy the previous "Best of"(covering the IRS singles upto 1987); Green; Out of Time; Automatic for the People; and Monster. This may sound like an expensive option but you can obtain VG quality second hand copies of each of them for £2 or less ... so for under a tenner, you really are getting the best of this great band.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 April 2013
I confess, I was only familiar with a couple of tracks by R.E.M before I bought this album a few years back, but always liked what I heard. When I saw this compilation of their greatest hits in a second hand music store, I decided to give it a go and look into their music further. I am so glad that I did, so many of the songs on 'In Time' made my iTunes 'Top 25 Most Played' within days, and I quickly built up a collection of their studio albums around it.

This single CD captures the many highlights of R.E.M's internationally successful career from almost twenty years: 1988-2003 (although they actually started recording material as far back as 1982), so you can expect a collection of diverse and classic tracks.

If you only knew a few of R.E.M's songs, after one listen of this CD, if it doesn't convert you into a fan, nothing will. It's rare that I would say that I was a fan of every song on a rock band's hits collection, but this is one of those rare exceptions, because there isn't one on here that I dislike. As soon as I heard 'Man On The Moon' for the first time, I kept playing it over and over, even before I listened to anymore of the hits on here. 'Everybody Hurts' is an all time classic, and has comforted me during very bad periods of my life.

I don't even think that you have to be a serious fan of rock music to be able to enjoy R.E.M. The band have so many songs that will appear to people of all musical tastes. If you're looking around for a more extensive collection of music than this single CD, then try the following two-disc set instead: Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982-2011.
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