So, I’ve been listening to my dusty old CDs whilst (yep) driving in my car, going through the old collection, or what’s left of it due to moving, lack of space, and new technology. It’s been fun, rediscovering some albums I haven’t heard in a while, kinda remembering what it was like to be young, skinny, and gray-hair-free. The CD I put in the player most recently as of this writing is R.E.M.’s “Eponymous.”
I first got into R.E.M. kind of when “Weird Al” Yankovic prodied their song “Stand” as “Spam,” and then super-fanned with OUT OF TIME, so I’m thinking this was a purchase made well after EPONYMOUS came out, exploring the back catalog and whatnot. I don’t think I listened to the CD a whole lot, to be honest, but it kinda blew me away with this revisitation.
It starts of with “Radio Free Europe,” a personal favorite of mine. Listening, I was like, “Ah, maybe this song is why I purchased this early R.E.M. CD. Ah, yes…” Then a few songs later, “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” started up, and I was all, “Dang. Some good songs on this album!”
Suddenly, it blew up all over my mind. “Driver 8” comes on, and a song after that the album finishes on an amazing run: “Fall on Me” to “The One I Love” to “The Finest Worksong” to freaking “It’s the End of the world as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” — what?? How did so many of my favorite R.E.M. songs end up on one album? Surely the number of well-known singles off this album “Eponymous” is fairly monumental in alt-rocky-pop music. I mean, almost all of the pre-OUT OF TIME R.E.M. songs that I know are on this one album! How the– oh, wait. That’s right. It’s a greatest hits album.