And I Feel Fine...: The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's hardly as if R.E.M.'s glory days of the '80s haven't been compiled before -- just after they left I.R.S. for Warner, the Eponymous collection appeared in 1988, and over the years more collections have appeared in both domestic and foreign markets -- but 2006's And I Feel Fine...: The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 is the first collection since Eponymous to be assembled with a purpose. At 21 tracks, it's nearly twice as long as the 1988 effort (and it's also five tracks longer than the good EMI Europe 1998 disc The Best of R.E.M.) and the extra space is used well, helping to sketch a complete picture of the band through singles, album tracks, and concert...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's hardly as if R.E.M.'s glory days of the '80s haven't been compiled before -- just after they left I.R.S. for Warner, the Eponymous collection appeared in 1988, and over the years more collections have appeared in both domestic and foreign markets -- but 2006's And I Feel Fine...: The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 is the first collection since Eponymous to be assembled with a purpose. At 21 tracks, it's nearly twice as long as the 1988 effort (and it's also five tracks longer than the good EMI Europe 1998 disc The Best of R.E.M.) and the extra space is used well, helping to sketch a complete picture of the band through singles, album tracks, and concert standards. Which isn't to say everything great that R.E.M. recorded in the '80s -- it's a rich body of work, so there will naturally be great songs left behind when it's being condensed down to a 21-track collection -- but this has all the major songs ("Radio Free Europe," "[Don't Go Back to] Rockville," "Gardening at Night," "Pretty Persuasion," "Driver 8," "The One I Love," "Fall on Me," "It's the End of the World as We Know It [And I Feel Fine]"), making it about as a good single-disc overview and introduction to R.E.M.'s peak years as could be imagined. Only two things would make it better: chronological sequencing, since the group's growth truly was impressive, and the inclusion of their cover of the Clique's "Superman," which was a college radio standard throughout the late '80s. "Superman" does turn up on the second disc of the deluxe edition of And I Feel Fine... That second disc is a hodgepodge of rarities, demos, alternate takes, live versions, single mixes and remixes, album tracks, and favorite songs of Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe. Although most of these rarities have appeared somewhere else before, there's a healthy selection of previously unreleased cuts that makes this more than worthwhile for hardcore fans. Of these, the highlight is the original version of "Bad Day," which was scrapped during the Lifes Rich Pageant sessions, then rewritten into "It's the End of the World" and finally revived as a new song for the 2003 compilation In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003. It's rough and ragged, certainly incomplete, but it's exciting and proof that at their peak R.E.M. was a terrific rock band. Also of note are previously unreleased demos of "Mystery to Me" and "Theme from Two Steps Onward," also outtakes from the Lifes Rich Pageant sessions that are rough but a lot of fun. Then there are the rarities that aren't that rare but still worth having: the original Hib-Tone versions of "Radio Free Europe" and "Sitting Still," the original version of "All the Right Friends" (another early song later revived by the Berry-less version of the band), an acoustic "Swan Swan H," and a live-in-the-studio version of "Just a Touch." Although there are other rarities that could have shown up on this collection -- they've been heard not only on bootleg, but on the expanded European reissues of the I.R.S. albums that appeared in the '90s -- this is the cream of the crop, and help make And I Feel Fine... the finest R.E.M. compilation yet.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2006
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 094636994123
  • Catalog Number: 69941
  • Sales rank: 57,305

Album Credits

Performance Credits
R.E.M. Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Don Dixon Audio Production
Joe Boyd Audio Production
Peter Buck Composer
Mitch Easter Audio Production
Don Gehman Audio Production
Scott Litt Audio Production
Mike Mills Composer
Michael Stipe Composer
Bill Berry Composer
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