11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-chosen compilation
Compiling the very best of R.E.M.'s IRS years was never going to be an easy task, with at least half of each album from the era (Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Lifes Rich Pageant and Document) worthy of consideration for inclusion. It's been attempted in the past - Eponymous, Singles Collected, The Best of R.E.M. - but never to as great an extent as...
Published on 3 Aug 2006 by Wezzo
3.0 out of 5 stars Good music, poor quality release
Great collection of work, but listening pleasure is spoiled by atrocious sound quality on a lot of the recordings. If you're looking for an anthology of R.E.M., you might be better choosing 'In Time, the best of R.E.M' which has much better production. I already had that though, and I was looking for the older tracks.
Published 2 months ago by HarpingOn
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-chosen compilation,
The real meat of the 2-CD set for the hardcore fans is, of course, however, disc 2. Live versions, Hib-Tone/single versions, remixes and obscurities sit alongside each of the the R.E.M. boys' favourite IRS track that didn't make the cut for CD1. It could be argued that the set is worth the money for this disc alone to those who already know and love the band; while disc 1 is likely to appeal to newer R.E.M. fans whose experience with the band is limited to "In Time: The Best of 1988-2003".
While I haven't heard some of the disc 2 tracks yet (those previously unreleased), I have no qualms giving this set 5 stars. While every fan will miss a favourite (personally, I wish Harborcoat had been included), the sheer quality of the material can't be denied. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you've never heard, or don't have the early REM stuff, this is an ideal entry point.,
IRS never seem to fail to remind us that once upon a time, they had REM as their apprentices... and if they split there they would be legends. The guitarist would be playing in fair to middling indie bands. The bassist probably working in the industry. The drummer went off to be a farmer, whilst the singer became a mystery
Between 1982 and 1987, when REM were far from a big band, they made five albums for the label. Between 1987 and now, IRS have managed to squeeze five compilations out of this, as well as re-issuing the albums as `Vintage Remasters' with extra bonus songs.
"And I Feel Fine!" then is both tedious repetitive overkill, and a vibrant collection of a band in it's most experimental and innovative era. After this, it was REM as leftfield stadium rock, and latterly as intelligent miserabilists. But this?
As the purists say, it's all about the music. Which in one respect it is. But the words "Music" and "Business" often sit together more comfortably than we admit.
Disc One is a haphazard and largely random selection of 21 songs from their albums, sequenced with little respect for chronology or musical worth. Some baffling choices and omissions, as well as little regard for how the album will actually sound, make this record a perverse REM iPod playlist that, to be frank, anyone could do. You could probably do better. The songs themselves are strange, beautiful and wonderful : REM will probably never write anything as wistful or intruiging as "So.Central Rain", "Fall On Me", or "Don't Go Back To Rockville" ever again. Then again, even at the time their records were oft difficult affairs.
Disc Two is the big draw : twelve rare/unreleased songs from the period (surprising that there are, in fact, any songs left unreleased given IRS' aggressive re-release schedules), alongside some of the rare b-sides and the "bands choice" of favourite songs from the era. This sees the A- and B-`s of their first single, as well as a multitude of demos, most of which are unexceptional but functional - and apparent why they weren't released at the time. Of interest though is "Bad Day (PSA)", the song that was later exhumed and whipped into shape to become the lead off single from 2003's "In Time". Of the unreleased stuff, the best material is the smattering of concert recordings from the time, showing that perhaps IRS should stop messing around and put out an REM Live Album from the period.
As Peter Buck said "There's some kid who thinks our first album ends with a live song recorded in Boston!". If IRS had their way, no doubt they would release a set of REM concert albums and DVD's as well. Anything to line the coffers. If you've never heard, or don't have the early REM stuff, this is an ideal entry point. If however you do have it, "And I Feel Fine" is for the completists and bargain hunters.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the right songs,
3.0 out of 5 stars Good music, poor quality release,
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This review is from: And I Feel Fine.....The Best Of The IRS Years 82-87 Collector's Edition (MP3 Download)Great collection of work, but listening pleasure is spoiled by atrocious sound quality on a lot of the recordings. If you're looking for an anthology of R.E.M., you might be better choosing 'In Time, the best of R.E.M' which has much better production. I already had that though, and I was looking for the older tracks.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good collection of REM songs,
This review is from: And I Feel Fine.....The Best Of The IRS Years 82-87 (Audio CD)Well worth listening to the tracks on this album as this is probably their best era in my opinion. A bit less mopey than their later stuff!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect introduction to R.E.M.'s early years,
A prequel of sorts to 2003's Warner-era Greatest Hits 'In Time', 'And I Feel Fine' shows none of the failings or difficulties of that collection. It's lovingly compiled (by the band themselves, no quick cash-ins here), and few will find fault with the tracklist, which draws both on album gems and the hits they were beginning to churn towards the end of this era. Wisely, they've opted not to order them chronologically, which means they can start the album with 1986's perfect opener 'Begin The Begin' and, bizarrely tucked away mid-album on 1987's 'Document', end it with the traditional set-closer 'It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)'. Naturally for a greatest hits which draws from five great albums, omissions will be found, but the tracklist is diverse enough to make these merely pedantic. There's a bonus rarities disc for die-hard fans, anyway. Classics like 'Sitting Still' and 'Fall On Me', two non-singles which fully deserve places in any R.E.M. collection, are included alongside the more obvious choices, like impenetrable first single 'Radio Free Europe'.
But for all this talk of tracklistings and fan-pleasing, the most important achievement of the album is introducing new listeners and curious admirers to R.E.M.'s varied delights behind the '90s hits which boosted their popularity but crippled their cred. There's an amazing variety of styles, and though it's scattered, we can trace their movement from fuzzy, opaque college-rock ('Sitting Still') to aggressively political alt-country ('Cuyahoga') and blueprint-setting stadium-rock ('The One I Love'). With only a couple of mediocre exceptions ('Driver 8'), the tunes are exactly the standard of that of their early '90s breakthrough albums. That Peter Buck jangle is still there, it's just frequently buried under lo-fi production. Most important is the fact that, if it introduces people to the period that lurks behind megastardom, when Michael Stipe was a shy student with hair and when Peter Buck's only interaction with yoghurt involved eating it, then this fine compilation will have done its job.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It,s superb but you should really buy all the original albums,
This review is from: And I Feel Fine.....The Best Of The IRS Years 82-87 (Audio CD)As someone who believes that R.E.M. lost a little something of what made them special when they signed to a major label ( though they did go on to produce one of their finest works for Warners with "Automatic For The People") this album represents an encapsulation of their most verdant period. Covering all their albums for I.R.S. including the mini debut album "Chronic Town"( represented by "Gardening At Night") this is a formidable collection of songs and with one or two exceptions ,"Losing My Religion" would certainly be one, covers all their stellar moments.
The first time I heard this band in 1983 when "Murmur" came out I was completely perplexed by the dichotomy between the ravishing music and Stipes incongruous half arsed vocals. But the songs still sound ravishing Talk About The Passion", and the elliptical "Radio Free Europe" sounded like the light of a new dawn then and still do now. No "Perfect Circle" is bit of a bad miss though.
"Reckoning" in 1984 beckoned a new confidence, adding a fresh rock mysticism to their previous chaste adoration. Every song represented here "So Central Rain", "Pretty Persuasion" "Don't Go Back To Rockville" and "7 Chinese Brothers" showcase the Mike Mill's garrulous perambulating bass and Bucks chiming lexicon of guitars. Stipes vocals are still mumbled but more to the fore.
1985,s "Fable Of The Reconstruction" is considered a weak link but is actually under-rated and the songs representing the album here prove it incontrovertibly. "Driver 8" and it's glistening index of chords, the ominous and dramatic "Feeling Gravitys Pull", the scurrying mischievous "Can't Get There From Here" and the taut obtuse "Life And How To Live It".
Having said that it's no doubt true that if they had continued on that slightly obscure tangent they would never have broken the mainstream so the straighter up unequivocal rock sound of "Lifes Rich Pageant" in 1986 was important for their destiny. It also contains for me their finest single moment the glorious "Fall On Me" which is like three different songs co-existing in some wondrous harmonic re-invention. The rest here isn't bad either from the thrilling "Begin The Begin" to the wonderful churning Cuyahoga" this album provided many of the bands greatest songs.
"Document" maintained their album every year record and was a further stride to the band that came to global recognition with muscular and striking rock songs like "The Finest Worksong" and the electric bolt of "The One I Love" (adopted as a love anthem by those who fail to pay attention to lyrics rather amusingly). There is also the breathless "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
There is an expanded version of this album available with extra tracks some previously unreleased and in one way it's easy to understand why people will buy that-because of the new material. It's hard to understand who will want this though. Brilliant though it is surely everyone with even a cursory interest in the band already own most of this stuff. Better not to content yourself with a selection of their I.R.S, years , their most fertile period, save up and buy the flaming lot.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional compliation of exceptional music.,
This review is from: And I Feel Fine.....The Best Of The IRS Years 82-87 (Audio CD)I am not in possession of this CD yet I have heard all the tracks in question from their various albums and the (very) simliar compliation released in 1991, 'R.E.M. - The Best of the I.R.S. Years'.
Without doubt R.E.M. produced, in my view, some of the greatest music of the 1980s. Starting with their excellent 1983 debut 'Murmur' on towards 1987's equally brilliant 'Document', and in between ('Fables of the Reconstruction' in particular stands out for me) probably only The Smiths had an equally consistant run of brilliant 'alternative'/'indie'/'college'/'jangle' ,or simply just rock for that matter, records.
This compliation neatly distills these albums on one CD, whereby one can hear the transition from 'Radio Free Europe's simple garage rock to the more intricate and expansive band that R.E.M. became by the end of the 1980s, heard on tracks such as 'Finest Worksong'.
Essentially my advice distilled is, basically, BUY, BUY, BUY this record!
9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Going To Be Mind Blowing !,
A must buy.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful remastering,
This review is from: And I Feel Fine.....The Best Of The IRS Years 82-87 (Audio CD)The sound quality on this compilation is terrible, it is a child of the loudness wars and clips dreadfully! If you like the band's earlier music I would suggest you steer clear of this and get the older, 1991 IRS recording 'The Best Of REM'. Sure there are less tracks on that album but it's listenable!
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And I Feel Fine.....The Best Of The IRS Years 82-87 by R.E.M. (Audio CD - 2006)
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