by mranti USER (21 Reviews)
July 10th, 2005 | 54 replies

Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Michael Stipe -vocals
Peter Buck -guitars
Mike Mills -bass
Bill Berry -drums

The immediate appeal of R.E.M., aka Rapid Eye Movement, is among the catchy melodies, the unique vocals, and the overall craftsmanship of consistently well-written material. The band reaches to a gentle but aggressive, simple but complex, nonsensical but political part of the listeners psyche, which often masks the most “in your face” music in pop cellophane. Although there is a comical, often self criticizing, side of the band, intense tracks like “Everybody Hurts” (Automatic for the People) and “The One I Love” (Document) find the band in their most open and musically creative state. Few bands can claim to have had as much of an impact on alternative/rock music as R.E.M.. Rising from underground college radio to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world, there may not have been a path for bands like Nirvana or Pearl Jam had R.E.M. failed to write good music.

Document, R.E.M.’s fifth full-length album, can be credited as the album that assured mainstream success for the band. Every song is great, from hits like “The One I Love”, “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”, and “Finest Worksong”, to the continually addictive tracks like “Fireplace”. Considered as one of R.E.M.’s most politically charged moments, Document is a must-have for anyone looking to find the cream of the crop in terms of 80's and 90's rock. The exposure from Document led to a major label signing of the group, which hailed the next three R.E.M. albums as classics. Green, containing such landmarks as “Orange Crush”, “Stand”, and “Pop Song 89", Out Of Time, containing the hugely popular and essential R.E.M. track “Losing My Religion”, and the haunting and eclectic masterpiece Automatic For The People are staples in their catalogue. R.E.M. still makes great albums, and have no intention of stopping at any time soon, proving their timeless and uncompromising musical career.

Combining the straight-out energy of “Finest Worksong”, the socially conscience lyrics of “Welcome To The Occupation”, the surf driven guitar of “Exhuming McCarthy, the melody carried “Disturbance At The Heron House”, an excellent cover of Wire’s “Strange”, and the mush-mouth silliness of “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”, the first half of R.E.M.’s Document paints a perfect picture of the raw and often surprising side of the band, which turned to the very calm and gentle past 10 years or so of their career. R.E.M. goes to a very dark place, however, with “The One I Love”, a song that radiates with emotional vocals that accompany lyrics of a sour relationship, to the broody “Fireplace” that expresses discontent with modern times, simply stating “Crazy, crazy world”. Following is a track that screams of Red Hot Chili Peppers titled “Lightnin’ Hopkins”, and the acoustically driven “King Of Birds”, which showcases the bands often pessimistic lyrics such as “Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold”. All great albums have a feel that is unique and identifiable, which 1987's Document portrays a very chilling and cryptic sound. Summing up the album, the final track “Oddfellows Local 151" transitions R.E.M. from their early work to the blow-up success that would follow. In closing, Document is excellent from start to finish with not a single filler or weak moment, which definitely gets better with repeated listens. For anyone unsure of where to look to really get a feel for the band, there is no need to look any further.

Rating System:
0.5-Sad, hardly can be considered noise
1-Horrible, better off never recorded
1.5-Mind numbing, less than mediocre
2-Basic, mainstream machine
2.5- Alright, low expectations
3-Good, but has a few flaws
3.5-Well-done, deserves to be acknowledged
4-Excellent, stands well on its own
4.5-Amazing, always a great listen
5-Perfect, life changing work of art

The reviews I write are without plagiarism or bias to any sound or genre, but as a third-person presenting facts and logical comparisons. My personal feelings are not concrete and solidly agreeable, so when they are presented they are isolated and left to be viewed as such. The ratings for each album are not shifted due to what I am currently interested in, but out of a calculated sum ranging from originality, ability of repeated listens due to consistent effort and solid production, poetic lyrical structure, and overall musicianship.

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user ratings (653)
other reviews of this album
scotish (3.5)
R.E.M. strike the balance....

Jack Fraser (3.5)
While deeply inconsistent and top-heavy, "Document" proves that a subpar IRS-era R.E.M. record is st...

nag*with*a*gun (4)

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 11th 2005


It's the end of the world as we know it is the best song ever.

July 11th 2005



November 8th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

This album got me into R.E.M.

I think it still might be my favorite

December 1st 2005


Album Rating: 5.0

Possibly one of my favorite albums of all time. Well-done.

February 26th 2006


great review, im having an internal conflict on whether or not i should get this because i have heard its the end of the world as we know it, both the original and the riddlin kids version, and i love both, but im not entirely sure i want to spend money on this. tell me, would you reccomend this to a person with a dominant taste for punk music?

February 26th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Not really. I don't think that a fan of punk music would really enjoy this album, but there are some very rock-influenced songs. I suppose if you were looking for some R.E.M. and wanted an album this would be a good place to start considering that you like punk music.

April 4th 2006


Great, GREAT album.

May 23rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

all i gotta say: its the end of the world...

November 22nd 2006


The people who made Snakes On A Plane probably got the name of the movie from the opening line of It's The End Of The World. Anyways, one of the best REM albums imo, it's got some really catchy songs

August 21st 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

I love R.E.M., but I just cant get into this one like I can others of theres. Maybe it'll grow.

December 20th 2008


This is my favourite R.E.M album,they were at their 80's best when they made this album.The jangling guitars and Michael's often ambiguous yet still moving lyrics are brilliant,and also the End of the World is simply fantastic.When I hear the drum beats that starts off the song a small rush of excitement travels over me,its one of my favourites of all time

September 6th 2010


I laughed hard at that part in Tommy Boy where David Spade and Chris Farley try to keep up with Michael Stipe but they can't.

Digging: Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

January 26th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

Very strong album. Many great songs and only a few weak ones. Without The One I Love it would tilt to only a 4 rating. But the quality all together + that song makes it a 4.5 album.

So many good songs that its pointless to list the best.

March 9th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

Probably their third best album after Murmur and Reckoning. This was one of the first albums I ever bought when I was about 11 or 12. My musical knowledge and tastes have changed just a little since then, but for that reason, this album has some nostalgic value for me. Having listened to it many times since then, I can say that it is truly timless. Sometimes it takes many years for albums to be thought of as great or classic, and "Document" is a good example of that.

March 9th 2012


good album yea

December 23rd 2012


Leonid whats-his-name
Herman Munster Motorcade
Birthday party Cheetos
Pogo sticks and lemonade
You symbiotic stupid jerk
That's right, Flanders I am talking about you

December 23rd 2012


I need to give this album a full listen. Amazing band indeed!

December 23rd 2012


I have never heard a full album from these guys

I'll get Automatic for the People soon, even if the goddamn "Everybody Hurts" song has been so overplayed

December 23rd 2012


automatic is overrated yeh

December 23rd 2012


Well I have to start somewhere

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