There are things I’ve come to rely on: a needy cat who walks across my head before the sun rises, a job that will age me faster than the ark turned those Germans into dusty husks in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the band R.E.M. And while the first two are guaranteed for the foreseeable future, it the last one, sadly, that is no longer around.
It is good fortune, then, that they left behind an immense catalog of great music. One of my favorite albums by Michael Stipe, Billy Berry, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills, is Document. Released in 1987, the album reached number 10 on the Billboard charts and spun off three singles, the first of which, “The One I Love,” would hit number 9 on the charts and be their first single to break the top 10 but certainly not the last. (They would have ten top ten hits over the span of their four-decade career on the Alternative charts, a genre they are largely credited with shaping.)
The album is a strong statement by the band and remains one of their most popular. One of my favorite cuts is a song originally recorded by the band Wire. For their take, R.E.M. made a few lyrical adjustments and sped it up, but in the end, made it their own. Here’s “Strange” off the album Document.