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REM “Document” 2CD Deluxe review

REM Document / 25th Anniversary Edition

R.E.M.‘s fifth album, 1987’s Document, was the first with producer Scott Litt at the helm. This would prove to be a fruitful relationship lasting for five further albums, including Out Of Time and Automatic For The People.

The album was more aggressive and rock-influenced than previous offerings, particularly on side one, with opener Finest Worksong and the political Exhuming McCarthy. Despite this, Document spawned two commercial singles, It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) and The One I Love, with the later giving the band there first Billboard Hot 100 top ten hit (it would also reach number 16 in the UK in 1991).

Although Document started a new era with Scott Litt, it also proved to be the last studio album delivered for I.R.S. Records before the band moved to Warners, for whom they recorded Green in 1988.

EMI/Capitol have just released a 25th anniversary edition of the album in similar style to Lifes Rich Pageant from last year. The release comes in a box with a lift-off lid and inside are two discs, a booklet, postcards and a poster.

The album itself sounds significantly louder than the original CD, and quite compressed –  unlikely to please audiophile ears. Unlike Lifes Rich Pageant, the bonus disc here does not offer demos, rather we get only a live concert recording from Holland. This performance dates from September 1987, just two weeks after the release of the album.

Unsurprisingly, the set is Document-heavy with eight out of the eleven album tracks performed. The gig is excellent – but edited – and to be honest this bonus content feels a little light for a 25th Anniversary special edition. None of the tracks from the 1993 I.R.S. Vintage Years reissue have made it on to this set. They include The One I Love B-side Last Date, a couple of remixes of Finest Worksong, and a number of tracks recorded  “Live at McCabe’s Guitar Shop” from various single B-sides.

The packaging is really very good and small enough to fit on your standard CD shelf, but unless you are an avid collector of R.E.M. live material, this is not an essential purchase. Owners of the original ’87 CD or even the ’93 reissue are probably going to require more than is on offer here to upgrade.

Disc One Document

  1. “Finest Worksong” – 3:48
  2. “Welcome to the Occupation” – 2:46
  3. “Exhuming McCarthy” – 3:19
  4. “Disturbance at the Heron House” – 3:32
  5. “Strange” – 2:31
  6. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” – 4:05
  7. “The One I Love” – 3:17
  8. “Fireplace” – 3:22
  9. “Lightnin’ Hopkins” – 3:20
  10. “King of Birds” – 4:09
  11. “Oddfellows Local 151″ – 5:21

25th anniversary bonus disc, recorded live in Utrecht, Holland – September 14, 1987

  1. “Finest Worksong” – 4.20
  2. “These Days” – 3.36
  3. “Lightnin’ Hopkins” – 3.43
  4. “Welcome to the Occupation” – 2.52
  5. “Driver 8″ – 4.15
  6. “Feeling Gravitys Pull” – 5.00
  7. “I Believe” – 4.28
  8. “The One I Love” – 4.38
  9. “Exhuming McCarthy” – 3.23
  10. “Wolves, Lower” – 4.23
  11. “Fall On Me” – 3.05
  12. “Just a Touch” – 3.12
  13. “Oddfellows Local 151″ – 5.34
  14. “Little America” – 2.50
  15. “Its the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” – 4.01
  16. “Begin the Begin” – 4.32
  17. “Disturbance at the Heron House” – 3.42
  18. “Moral Kiosk” – 3.02
  19. “Life and How to Live It” – 4.59
  20. “So. Central Rain” – 5.35

 

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8 responses to REM “Document” 2CD Deluxe review

  1. Pk says:

    Louder but more compressed? Why not just release ot on tape with the recording level ramped up to 11 and thick with Dolby noise reduction.

    As a huge r.e.m fan I am mightily disappointed by this release of one of my all time favourite albums. I had hoped for the inclusion of the surround mix from the long since oop DVD-A. Guess I’m gonna’ have to buy an overpriced second hand copy.

  2. Scott Mills says:

    As with the previous “deluxe” editions of the I.R.S. catalog, I’m again disappointed by what could have been with this 25th Anniversary edition. I don’t recall the exact language, but Michael Stipe alluded to the fact that all the (outstanding) B-sides from these albums are on other compilations, so there is no need to include them in these editions. Similar to the KICK25 and SO25 reissues, this is simply not what fans want. If you plan to issue multi-disc sets with discs 2/3 or less filled, you have made a mistake. If you think fans to don’t want the B-sides/remixes/demos, you have made a mistake. I love the packaging for this box and the others, and having seen R.E.M. on every tour through 1990, I welcome the inclusion of a live show, but they have missed the boat by not including all the other material that fans want to hear.

    With regards to your points about compressed sound, again, this is another missed opportunity. For more than a decade, it has been generally accepted knowledge that this is not necessary when doing CD re-mastering. Another missed opportunity…

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Can’t disagree with you Scott. At least this set is relatively cheap.

      • Scott Mills says:

        Agreed Paul,

        I did buy this, but primarily for the live show. In addition, I bougth the Mobile Fidelity LP, which I’m looking forward to.

        Thanks for your review and this great site! Keep up the great work!

        – Scott

  3. James says:

    What a surprise, it’s louder! When did hifi systems stop having volume controls? Obviously this is the new standard for reissues – irritate your target audience. Just how stupid and ignorant ARE the major labels these days.

  4. Chris says:

    I see there is a HD (24 bit/96Khz and also 24bit/192khz) version available on HD Tracks in the US (not sure if anywhere else)…

    https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=catalogdetail&valbum_code=HD5099901539158

    It doesn’t have the live concert, but would it benefit from not being as compressed or is that all part of the 2012 remastering…. ?

  5. Tracey says:

    I haven’t listened to this yet, but I liked the idea of the Utrech concert being included in package. Its always been one of my favorite REM live recordings in my collection. However, it’s very disappointing to see that they omitted the many covers played that night. I’m sure there were many legal issues around being able to include these songs, but I suspect that no attempt was even made to work through them, as it was just easier to edit them out.

  6. Pingback:FIRST PICTURES / R.E.M. Out of Time four-disc deluxe edition | superdeluxeedition

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