Houston Calling

R.E.M.’s best of the I.R.S. years

September 15th, 2006 · No Comments

Readers who’ve been checking out Houston Calling for a while might remember my ramblings on my musical past–pointedly, how I was introduced to independent music and went from there. (You can read some of it here if you’re curious.) Anyway, more or less the first album that I was turned on to that was outside the scope of what most people in my high school were listening to was R.E.M.’s Murmur, much of which is collected on the new album, And I Feel Fine: Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987. This period is undoubtedly the band’s best work, and I am completely biased in my saying that.

Here’s the track listing: 1. Begin The Begin | 2. Radio Free Europe | 3. Pretty Persuasion | 4. Talk About The Passion | 5. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville | 6. Sitting Still | 7. Gardening At Night | 8. 7 Chinese Bros. | 9. So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) | 10. Driver 8 | 11. Can’t Get There From Here | 12. Finest Worksong | 13. Feeling Gravity’s Pull | 14. I Believe | 15. Life And How To Live It | 16. Cuyahoga | 17. The One I Love | 18. Welcome To The Occupation | 19. Fall On Me | 20. Perfect Circle | 21. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

There’s also a two-disc “collector’s edition,” which Amazon.com is offering for only $2 more than the single-disc version. This set includes the above songs, plus a second disc that features rarities and picks from the band members.

Here’s the track listing for the bonus disc: 1. Pilgrimage (Mike’s pick) | 2. These Days (Bill’s pick) | 3. Gardening at Night (slower electric demo; previously unreleased) | 4. Radio Free Europe (Hib-tone version) | 5. Sitting Still (Hib-tone version) | 6. Life and How to Live It (Live at the Muzik Centrum, Utrecht, Holland 9/14/87; previously unreleased) | 7. Ages of You (Live at the Paradise, Boston 7/13/83; previously unreleased) | 8. We Walk (Live at the Paradise, Boston 7/13/83; previously unreleased) | 9. 1,000,000 (Live at the Paradise, Boston 7/13/83; previously unreleased) | 10. Finest Worksong (other mix) | 11. Hyena (demo) (previously unreleased) | 12. Theme from Two Steps Onward (previously unreleased) | 13. Superman | 14. All the Right Friends (previously unreleased; later version released on Vanilla Sky soundtrack) | 15. Mystery to Me (demo; previously unreleased) | 16. Just A Touch (live in-studio version; previously unreleased) | 17. Bad Day (session outtake; previously unreleased) | 18. King of Birds (last song cut from the best of…) | 19. Swan Swan H (live, acoustic from “Athens, GA-Inside Out”) | 20. Disturbance At The Heron House (Peter’s pick) | 21. Time After Time (annElise) (Michael’s pick)

You can order the CD here or get it via iTunes. You can also read the Pitchfork review of the CD here.

If your only experience with R.E.M. is “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” “Stand,” or
“Everybody Hurts,” I implore you to do yourself a favor and check out this album.

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