2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent reflection,
This review is from: In Time: The Best of REM 1988 - 2003 (Audio CD)
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.