R.E.M. Re-released

For myself and probably many other people R.E.M. were a transitional band, helping to guide my pre-teen self away from the rubbish the kids in school listened to and into 'proper' music. Document was one of the albums I acquired after the rush of Green (the first album I heard by the band) had faded and I was looking to pick up all their other albums and while I still remember all the words to all the songs I can't say it was my favourite. This may have been because it was a more politically driven, angry and less accessible album (overall) which probably didn't appeal so much to my younger self.

Listening to Document now is a different experience; its sound is most definitely a product of the 80s, marked by the Reagan administration the band were politically motivated and ready to try something new and the record does sound more driven, meatier even - more rock and less indie. As a consequence of this more aggressive approach it has a darker atmosphere about it which induces a more introspective mood and appeals to my older self. Of course this is R.E.M. we're talking about and so there are a couple of huge singles here It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) and anti-love song The One I Love are probably the best known and they were indeed massive hits for the band, especially the latter, really helping to propel them into the mainstream. However, while they are strong singles they do threaten to overshadow the rest of the record which in my opinion is far better.

The best tunes on Document are the more understated and darker ones - Disturbance At The Heron House, Fireplace and Oddfellows Local 151 being amongst the strongest and most interesting, unfortunately the only small gripe with the record is that the clash of the singles vs rest of the album can make it feel like it lacks cohesion, something which they evened out on their next record Green.

In terms of what you get for you money here this version is an attractive package - housed in a lovely box depicting the album cover (front and back) and including not just the re-mastered album which incidentally does sound a lot cleaner and brighter here but also a live album, band picture postcards and a poster. It's very wantable and worth tracking down for fans.