R.E.M.
Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth...


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Allen USER (12 Reviews)
November 17th, 2011 | 20 replies | 5,118 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Long live R.E.M...

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

When considering the longevity of our favorite older bands, a mixed sentiment is likely to occur in regards to whether or not said group should still be making music. Instances such as the ever-consistent Tom Waits, indicate that there is no reason to throw in the towel just yet, but for every Tom Waits there are several The Rolling Stones; bands that have been well out of their prime for some time now and releasing just enough material to continue touring. Over the past decade or so, R.E.M. has been subjected to a great deal of argument over this, whether they have been perceived as proficient veterans or irrelevant relics. Whichever category you may believe R.E.M. belongs in, one thing is for sure: R.E.M. had an intriguing career. When R.E.M. announced on September 21 that they had officially broken up, it put an end to a storied 30 year livelihood that spanned several musical eras, produced fifteen full-length records, and heaps of commercials and underground acclaim. Less than two months removed from the declaration, R.E.M. have delivered their ultimate contribution to the music world, in the form of a 2-disc compilation. Perhaps titled Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage as a spoof of what many believe R.E.M.’s career was, the all-encompassing anthology is a comprehensive overview of those 30 years.

Just as R.E.M.’s calling did in 1982, Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage kicks off with the band’s lo-fi indie sound with Chronic Town’s “Gardening At Night,” before drifting into Murmur’s classic opener “Radio Free Europe.” Littered with outstanding melodies and jangling guitars, “Radio Free Europe’s” existence at the façade of the compilation does a tremendous job of recalling R.E.M.’s abiding early work. What is to follow are excellent cuts off of the descending releases, including the regretful “South Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” and the rollicking “Finest Worksong.” Yet as easy as it may be to choose fantastic material during the band’s most proficient decade, the set proves it’s worth when it comes to representing records such as Out of Time and Monster, which don’t have the back-catalogue of the 1980s albums. Other than the obvious appearance of the radio singles, the back end of disc one features the irrevocably dark “Country Feedback,” which may very well have laid the foundation for much of Automatic for the People’s harrowing ambience. Additionally, the lone inclusion of “What’s the Frequency Kenneth?” of Monster, highlights a mediocre record quickly and harmlessly, leaving a great deal of room for R.E.M. gems such as “Man on the Moon” and “Imitation of Life.”

Not taking Automatic for the People lightly to signify the height of R.E.M.’s commercial/underground praise, the record is conveyed through four deserving tracks, most notably its penultimate track and poignant ballad “Nightswimming.” With knowing what to include clearly apparent on the compilation, the Up/Reveal/Around the Sun era is very dimly represented, and rightfully so, due to the fact that those records embody the darkest and least remarkable period in the band’s illustrious career. Instead filling those spaces with straightforward rockers and melodious ballads for the group’s last two releases, as well as with three new tracks, Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage concludes as fittingly as possible, considering the material available.

As far as the new tracks are concerned, they express nothing that the band’s last few albums didn’t indicate. With the exception of “A Month of Saturdays,” which does nothing intriguing musically or lyrically, these final songs recorded by R.E.M. are subject to the same charming alternative rock that the band has been touted for. With all of this in place, the comprehensive compilation is very much a testament to R.E.M.’s 30-year career; highlighting the brilliance of their early work, the infectiousness of their major hits, and the resilience of their latter days. As accurate as the title of Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage may be in order to fully represent R.E.M., the compilation itself is devoid of lies and garbage.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
mallen-
November 17th 2011



1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ugh page is fucked

Jom
Staff Reviewer
November 17th 2011



2634 Comments


I had to change "Alligator" to forward-slashes rather than underscores. That being one giant fucking word screwed it up. Hooray, bugs!

mallen-
November 17th 2011



1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ahh thanks jom

AtavanHalen
November 17th 2011



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

jombomb

ifeellikeanalligator

Blindsided
November 18th 2011



1871 Comments


Good review as always Mike.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2011



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review Mike, I might do one for this too.

Other than the last 6 tracks this is pretty much the perfect REM compilation.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2011



23798 Comments


excellent review mike.

i'm still a little upset about them breaking up but it was probably for the best, although I did really really enjoy Accelerate; shame that they picked two of the worst songs from that album for the compilation.

Titan50
November 18th 2011



4588 Comments


I'm disappointed at the lack of Bittersweet Me. That song's seriously underated like FUCK

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2011



7136 Comments


Great review mallen. I was just about to get into these guys (uber late, I know) when they broke up. No matter - Automatic For The People will always have a special place in my heart.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2011



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I'm doing an AFTP review now.

I'd liked to have seen Leave on this, and I've always really liked Catapult, but realisticly that was never going to be included.

omnipanzer
November 18th 2011



21418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I disagree with a few sentiments however it was a nice read sir.

Digging: Grant Lee Buffalo - Fuzzy

MassiveAttack
November 18th 2011



2688 Comments


nice job Mike, I was never a huge R.E.M. fan, but this compilation has got me interested.

mallen-
November 18th 2011



1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks all.

Marko, disc 1 is definitely worth checking out if you're interested

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2011



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But disc 2 has all the Automatic For The People material...

porch
November 18th 2011



8442 Comments


automatic already gets enough exposure at the expense of their earlier and mostly better material

mallen-
November 18th 2011



1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Ali, but overall disc 1 is way better. I lose interest a bit at the 2nd half of disc 2.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2011



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"automatic for the people already gets enough exposure at the expense of their earlier and mostly better material"

Can't agree with that, though you're right it gets plenty of exposure.

@Mike, I definitely agree that disc 1 is the stronger, but I also think the highlights from their latter albums are exceptional too. It's only once it gets around to the Collapse Into Now material that things start getting stale.

Nagrarok
November 25th 2011



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Collection seems very representative although I don't know how they ever forgot to include Drive, couple more from Hi-Fi would have been great too. Nicely done Mike, good to see your writing back on sputnik.

theTourist
March 27th 2013



95 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The selection here is really great, though I'm still puzzled as to why they didn't realize "A Month of Saturdays" might be the worst thing they've ever recorded and left it off.

MUNGOLOID
April 27th 2014



4275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

my starting point for this band. looking forward to hearing more from them.



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