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REM – Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982 - 2011

REM, Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

IT’S a sad departure… but if any further proof was needed as to why we’ll be sorry to see REM go, then try listening to this retrospective that picks out some of their seminal moments.

Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Garbage is Michael Stipe and company’s way of saying goodbye after almost 30 years at the top. It includes hand-picked selections from their earliest works, through the Losing My Religion career-topping highs, right down to final single We All Go Back To Where We Belong. And there’s plenty to savour.

There are some omissions, or personal favourites that didn’t make the cut, as well as very little that’s not been available before on past greatest hits collections, but if you want a lively, heartfelt overview of why REM were able to remain at the top of their game for so long, this is a good way to bow out, especially given the critical acclaim that also followed their last studio album, Collapse Into Now.

For most people, REM will have delivered at least one or two moments to savour or guide them through the happy or sad times in their lives, especially once they found their feet as a band and really caught fire.

Hence, who can forget the impassioned Losing My Religion, with its striking mandolin riffs, the giddily happy Stand and Shiny Happy People, or the bombastic It’s The End Of The World As We Know It.

Conversely, the impassioned and deeply personal Everybody Hurts, which stands out as a timeless anthem in its own right much like U2’s One, the epic Leaving New York with its cinematic sweep, or the shimmering The Great Beyond.

And then there’s the mood rock of The One I Love, the electrifying What’s The Frequency Kenneth? with its gargantuan opening riff, the anthem for any bad mood that is Bad Day or the evocative Imitation of Life.

I could have done with a couple more selections, such as Drive or Walk It Back (one of the highlights from Collapse Into Now), but then such is the wealth of their back catalogue there’s sure to be tracks that long-term fans will miss.

Final single, We All Go Back To Where We Belong, meanwhile, is a glorious parting shot… a slow-burner that finds Stipe’s vocals at their most expressive and asking “is this really what you want?” If he’s asking whether we want him to go, the answer is ‘no’.

But while there’s a melancholy undertow to proceedings, there’s also a strangely beautiful melody as well akin to the classic song-writing of someone like Burt Bacharach.

Put together, this is a great collection that capably recaptures the magic and joy of listening to REM for the past 30 years. They will be missed.

Watch the Kirsten Dunst video for We All Go Back To Where We Belong

Download picks: Losing My Religion, Stand, The One I Love, Nightswimming, Leaving New York, Man on The Moon, What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?, We All Go Back To Where We Belong, Bad Day, Imitation of Life, Everybody Hurts

Track listing:
CD1

  1. Gardening At Night
  2. Radio Free Europe
  3. Talk About The Passion
  4. Sitting Still
  5. So. Central Rain
  6. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville
  7. Driver 8
  8. Life And How To Live It
  9. Begin The Begin
  10. Fall On Me
  11. Finest Worksong
  12. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
  13. The One I Love
  14. Stand
  15. Pop Song 89
  16. Get Up
  17. Orange Crush
  18. Losing My Religion
  19. Country Feedback
  20. Shiny Happy People

Disc Two

  1. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
  2. Everybody Hurts
  3. Man On The Moon
  4. Nightswimming
  5. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
  6. New Test Leper
  7. Electrolite
  8. At My Most Beautiful
  9. The Great Beyond
  10. Imitation Of Life
  11. Bad Day
  12. Leaving New York
  13. Living Well Is The Best Revenge
  14. Supernatural Superserious
  15. UBerlin
  16. Oh My Heart
  17. Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter
  18. A Month Of Saturdays
  19. We All Go Back To Where We Belong
  20. Hallelujah