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4.3 out of 5 stars38
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 7 February 2012
this album has many classic rem songs on it as well as a number of live tracks which is when rem are at their best. the live version of so central rain which appears on the same tracking as time after time is increduably beautifully sung - it may only superficially be about phone lines being down due to bad weather but the way michael sings it you'd have to be in a pretty hard mood not to cry. i recommend you get this album even if you only quite like rem but otherwise at least download that track.
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Document was their last album for IRS (originally released in 1987), prior to REM signing to Warners in 1988 (a move that many bemoaned in the music press- REM being the best kept secret for many in the 80s- the missing link between Richard Thompson & The Smiths!). 1985's brilliant Fables of the Reconstruction had almost split the band, the following years Life's Rich Paegent had Stipe singing clearly (no longer Mr Mumbles) & a robust sound captured by John Couger Mellancamp's producer Don Dixon. Document goes one further, REM finding a perfect co-producer with Scott Litt- this album becoming the one that pitched them from cult-college band to perhaps the next U2...
Two of the singles were big US hits and got them noticed in the UK: both It's the End of the World As We Know It (& I Feel Fine) and The One I Love would be hits when reissued by IRS in the wake of Out of Time's huge success. It's the End...is a wild blend of rockabilly, Subterranean Homesick Blues and startling harmonies- Stipe's dream of people with the initials LB (Lester Bangs, Leonard Bernstein, Lenny Bruce...) occurs and Mills call/response vocals "It's time I had some time alone!" are superb. Just a pity that Billy Joel would rip it off for his dire 1989 (s)hit single We Didn't Start the Fire! The One I Love is an important song (even if it's a little similar to Smithereens single Behind the Wall of Sleep from 1986)- a brilliant riff worthy of Neil Young pins down a deceptively cruel song ("a simple prop to occupy my time")- this & Every Breath You Take remain the nastiest songs that people think are about love! There is an alternate version of The One I Love, originally called This One Goes Out here- which is sublime and more acoustic & was originally found on It's the End...'s 12" version (though the brilliant take of Maps&Legends is sadly not included).
The third single (&opening track) Finest Worksong advances a more political line ("the time to rise has been engaged/you'd better best rearrange")- a funky-bassline pins the song down, advancing on 86's Begin the Begin. Stipe oozes disdain onto Reagan's era- the theme of the album can loosely be seen as an anti-Reagan album (Welcome to the Occupation, Exhuming McCarthy). The alternate mixes of Finest Worksong has more brass in, but aren't that necessary (the other extra tracks are a live take of Disturbance..., the Floyd Kramer classic Last Date (though not the version rumoured to have been recorded with Debbie Harry) & the sublime medley of Time After Time/Peter Gabriel's Red Rain & South Central Rain: A MUST!).
Exhuming McCarthy is extremely caustic, seeping vitriol at the USA's behaviour in Central America, Iran-Contra & the ethics of yuppiedom (it's also namechecked by Douglas Coupland in one of his early novels). A great funk style bassline where Mills&Stipe bounce off each other "it's a sign of the times!". Odd that a song sounds so bouncy, when it's about such terrible climes. The Byrds-inflected guitars of earlier releases are present- notably on Welcome to the Occupation (another song that mentions fire) & Disturbance at the Heron House (apparently Stipe's most political song; I'm as baffled as everyone else!). There's also a lovely cover version of Wire's Strange (from 1977's classic Pink Flag)- REM introducing a more obvious pop element to their oeuvre (the following year's Stand would advance this somewhat).
The latter half of the album is slightly weaker- the sax ridden Fireplace, the odd beat-frenzy of Lightnin Hopkins being rather slight. King of Birds, alternately, is one of the great REM ballads- advancing on songs like Old Man Kensey, Flowers of Guatemala & Cuyahoga, and paving the way for songs like World Leader Pretend & I Remember California. The final track showcases suitably fiery guitars from Peter Buck- easily up there with Johnny Marr's huge sound on The Queen is Dead.
Document has aged well, though the following year's Green would perfect the rock-side of REM (Green has more variety, shifting from 60spop to acoustic ballads to rock songs). Document remains a highlight of the late 80s and with the bonus tracks is great value at this budget price. This is the record that put REM, seven years into their career, onto the path of global superstars that they remain today & along with Radiohead and Zoo-U2, the acceptable side of stadium rock. & the pics of the band are great- Stipey with lovely long hair and Bill Berry dressed like something out of The Wild One!
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on 3 May 2015
R.E.M.s 5th studio release and this was the very first REM album I bought back in 1987/88. and marks the start of a different direction for the band a more rockier indie sound than on previous albums which eventually become there trademark alt sound which will carried forward to there next album.

I first got into them when I heard their Mini breakthrough radio hit 'One I Love' on the radio and was completely blown away by it!
When the album came out I decided to buy it, but on first play I admit wasn't taken by it. The reason why was the fact it like most REM albums it is a bit of a mixed bag and was sort of expecting more of 'One I love' but after a few plays I really started to get into it.

This album was probably an important mini breakthrough for the band during 1987-89 as some of the singles on here were later re-released a few years later to capitalise on the success of 1988s 'Green' album, but it would be the start of a slow road to success for the band with next two albums until 'Out of time' in 1991 when everything changed!

As they say the rest is history!!

Stand out tracks are the single releases
One I Love
Finest Work song
It's the end of the world as we know it.....

Plus:
Strange
Welcome to the occupation
Exhuming McCarthy
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on 3 December 2012
As a big fan of R.E.M. I just had to get this album and it does not disappoint; it has all the original tracks on it plus a bonus cd and a few extras (posters and pictures) all nicely packaged in a box.
All the other reviewers have said it....and so I don't really have anything extra to say.
Document is a collection of political songs and this anniversary edition includes a second disc that was recorded from "Live at Muziekcentrum Vredenburg" which is, (I believe) the best way to listen to R.E.M.; they are masters live.
My two favourite tracks on this album are "Fall on Me" and "Begin the Begin". R.E.M. were a band I listened to again and again when I was growing up in the late 90's and I found all their albums like they were on a journey, the first one I owned was Fables of the Reconstruction rapidly followed by all the albums available at that time (spread over a number of weeks hard saving)! Document is the last album on their independent label and the one that seemed to kick start everything else...of course what made them more main stream was the album "Automatic for the People" (the one I first heard) however, I find their earlier albums the best ones :-)
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on 13 October 2001
This record has their most focused political songs taking up the first half of the album.
Finest Work Song starts the record with the clarion call "the time to rise has been engaged / you're better best to rearrange".
Welcome To The Occupation is a Chomsky style look at the United States economic occupation of South America "offering the educated, primitive and loyal / welcome to the occupation" . When Stipe sings of "Sugar cane and coffee cup, copper steel and cattle / an annotated history, the forest for the fire" it reminds me of school lessons looking at maps of the world where the western countries are labeled with their name and developing countries marked only by the product they provide to the western world.
Exhuming McCarthy pinpoints the trick pulled off by Reaganomics; "vested interests, united ties, landed gentry rationalise / look who bought the myth, buy jingo (=) buy America". I can't think of any other song that so clearly and succinctly articulates how patriotism and nationalism are tools of the wealthy and powerful elite to maintain their wealth and security.
Disturbance at the Heron House targets the "gathering of grunts and greens / cogs and grunts and hirelings" who fed on the 1980s obsession with deregualted capitalism, inspired by Reagan's favourite economic guru, Milton Friedman. But "when feeding time has come and gone / they'll lose their heart and head for home / try to tell us something we don't know". Which is of course what happened. In the late 80s and early 90s the economic bubble did burst and Bush was chucked out.
The politics is rounded off by a cover of Wire's Strange. In this context, following 4 of REM's most explicitly political songs, it can be taken to express the nervous alienation from the right-wing culture of the time; "There's something strange going on tonite / there's something going on that's not quite right". It shouldn't be forgotten after all this politics that the other thing that makes these songs so great is that they completely rock!
Then a little light relief for MTV with It's The End of the World as we Know it before one of REM's greatest songs, The One I Love. I cannot think of antother song of theirs that is so perfect, simple and elegant. Yet at the same time is is completely cruel and callous.
The rest of the album returns to Fables of the Reconstruction era REM. They are all great songs with beatiful melodies and singing by Stipe. There is not so much to say about them however as it is back to the old days of not having a clue what Stipe is on about; "Oddfellows local 151 behind the firehouse / where Pewee sits to prove a sage to teach / Pewee gathered up his proof reached up and scratched his head / fell down and hit the ground again". What!? Pewee? What are you on about Stipe?
Love it all the same. I wish he'd get back to writing something more political instead of people going to Reno and wanting to be a star. Who cares? I want politics and stories about weird old men in Southern backwater towns.
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on 1 August 2010
'Document' is R.E.M's last album for the I.R.S record label and for many people the first introduction to the band thank's to the hit single 'The One I Love', it also marks the start of a long relationship with producer Scott Litt who goes on to produce the bands next few albums. Taking encouragement from the success of previous album 'Lifes Rich Pageant' the band continue to explore a guitar heavier sound (out went the Rickenbacker and in came the Les Paul) and the ability to recreate the songs live in a staduim environment appears to be a priority. The other interesting change on this album is Stipe's overtly political references, most obviously on album track 'Exhuming Mccarthy', which would continue (although less pointedly) into the next album 'Green' and beyond. 'Document' is the sound of a new confident R.E.M flexing its muscles and looking towards a future full of huge major label deals and gold discs. A few months after the release of this album Rolling Stone would put them on the cover of their December '87 issue pronouncing them as "America's best rock and roll band". They would never look back.
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on 7 March 2013
Love the box, looks great on shelf beside other remastered and deluxe editions, one of my favourite REM albums and really wanted to hear how remastered would sound, much crisper and clear you will not be dissatisfied ..get it can't wait for Green remastered
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on 4 June 2000
This is an absolute classic R.E.M. record, the most familiar songs from which are The One I Love and It's The End Of The World As We Know It... If you've ever dismissed the band before for being a little too nice or twee, this, like Monster should blow that contention out of the water. There is a real political anger in most of the songs here, with the guitars more jagged than jangly. Along with the two already mentioned tracks, other stand-outs are Finest Worksong, Welcome To The Occupation, Lightnin' Hopkins and Oddfellows Local 151. I'd hate to get too judgemental but really, if you don't like this album you'd be a fool.
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on 21 January 2014
Given that Michael Stipe's voice is louder and clearer than before, this is a move towards the "new-style" REM of "Out of Time" onwards. However, it still has enough rawness to count as "old-style". Not as consistently excellent as "Life's Rich Pageant", "Reckoning" or "Murmur", "Document" nonetheless contains some of REM's very best songs such as "It's the End of the World as We Know It" and "The One I Love". Necessary for any REM fan.
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The last of the 5 studio albums R.E.M. recorded for IRS Records finally gets the DELUXE EDITION CD treatment in 2012 and like the others before it - "Reckoning" (1983), "Murmur" (1983), "Fables Of The Reconstruction" (1985) and "Life's Rich Pageant" (1986) – it's a mixed bag of vastly improved sound quality offset by hollow extras you're never going to play, infuriating packaging and a far-too-steep price tag.

Released Monday 24 September 2012 in the UK (25 Sept 2012 in the USA) - "Document" by R.E.M. on Capitol 5099997200628 (Barcode 5099997200628) is a 2CD '25th Anniversary' Mini Box Set Remaster and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (39:49 minutes):
1. Finest Worksong
2. Welcome To The Occupation
3. Exhuming McCarthy
4. Disturbance At The Heron House
5. Strange
6. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
7. The One I Love
8. Fireplace
9. Lightnin’ Hopkins
10. King Of Birds
11. Oddfellows Local 151
Tracks 1to 11 are the studio album "Document" first released on vinyl in early September 1987 on IRS 42059 in the USA and on IRS MIRG 1025 in the UK.

Disc 2 "Live At Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, Holland 14 September 1987” (79:37 minutes):
1. Finest Worksong
2. These Days
3. Lightnin’ Hopkins
4. Welcome To The Occupation
5. Driver 8
6. Feeling Gravity’s Pull
7. I Believe
8. The One I Love
9. Exhuming McCarty
10. Wolves, Lower
11. Fall On Me
12. Just A Touch
13. Oddfellows Local 151
14. Little America
15. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
16. Begin The Begin
17. Disturbance At The Heron House
18. Moral Kiosk
19. Life And How To Live It
20. So. Central Rain
Disc 2 is a 20-track PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED live concert (title above) and was recorded for Vara Radio in Holland in 1987

The first thing that hits you is the power of the REMASTERED album which has been done by ROBERT VOSGIEN in the USA – never too showy or trebled up – it's impressive to say the least. The drums and bass are so sweet now and the guitars finally heard – making lesser-heard nuggets like "Disturbance At The Heron House" (lyrics above) and "King Of Birds" suddenly feel alive. The treated guitar and drum opening of "Oddfellows Local 151" is HUGE – not overdone – just meaty in all the right ways. "Strange" is the same - great rocking stuff…

The live set with its 20-tracks and near 80 minutes playing time is certainly value for money – but I found after 4 songs its unlistenable – same tune – over and over again. The sound quality is excellent though – great presence.

The 10-page booklet has some new liner notes by David Daley describing the US political landscape that so influenced the songs (Reagan, Iran etc) - there's a large black and white fold-out poster and 4 x Lobby Cards of the band. But you can't help but feel that non-album B-sides should be here instead of tedious live stuff – the lyrics aren’t reproduced – neither is the inner sleeve to the UK LP - it's the typically oblique artwork that isn't artwork.

The overall feel is this – a really great remaster of the album that truly makes you reassess just how good the record was – but the rest is superfluous to requirements – and you're being charged for the privilege.

These guys used to be the biggest band in the world – and the excellent remaster of this forgotten album will go some way to explaining why.

But I doubt the rest will do anyone any favours...especially long suffering fans...
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