Nov. 30, 2003

R.E.M. Travels Back ‘In Time’

By Randy J. Klodz

Just when R.E.M., a band heralded by many as one of the most influential rock bands in history, couldn’t get any better, the band released a collection of some of its greatest hits titled “In Time: The Best of R.E.M.1988-2003” in October.

R.E.M., which is now a trio since drummer Bill Berry retired from the band in 1997, includes: Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills. Not only do fans in the States enjoy the music produced by the boys from Athens, Ga., fans within dozens of countries throughout the world can’t get enough either. This album contains 16 tracks, that if they weren’t big in the U.S., they took other countries by storm. Proving that the band can be both influential and creative, the band also added two original tracks to this collection “Bad Day” and “Animal.”

“Bad Day” almost sounds like R.E.M.’s hit “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” which ironically, isn’t part of this collection. Other popular hits included on this release are “Losing My Religion,” “Orange Crush,” “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?,” “Man on the Moon” and “Stand,” among others.

Fans and critics alike have always viewed R.E.M. as one of those bands that might not be “in time” with whatever was generally popular within the music business at any given time, which makes the “In Time” portion of the album’s title a bit curious. “It’s a little tongue in cheek,” Mike Mills said in a press release, regarding the title. “The fact is we’ve never really been ‘in time’ with pop music. But somehow, in the process, we’ve managed to create all these songs that people have responded to.”

There is also an “Expanded Special Edition” version of this album that includes a second disc of acoustic, live and other rare versions of popular releases. For more information on R.E.M. log on to www.remhq.com.

R.E.M. Photo: Anton Corbijn