This is their landmark debut that spawned off a whole wave of college rock, but nothing every copies the original perfectly. This is a must-get if you're into the alternative genre at all. This includes songs like Radio Free Europe, Talk about the Passion, and Perfect Circle.
Good classic R.E.M. I got it for Don't go back to Rockville.
Another one of R.E.M.'s classics. It has the song Don't go back to Rockville, which I believe was written by Michael Stipe (or Mike Mills?) for his girlfriend who was leaving to Rockville, MD (where I got my Ph.D.). All songs in this album are good listening material.
R.E.M. get the nature of this release across by opening with heavily distorted/grungy guitars in the first song What's the Frequency, Kenneth? I'm sure everyone knows the Dan Rather connection to it by now, so I won't bother repeating it. Listeners shouldn't be shocked at the fact that the mandolin was tossed away; they've been saying that they will put out such an album for a long time and what better time when guitar-rock bands like The Offspring and Green Day are big... or when melodic-noise is the name of the game? King of Comedy and Circus Envy sound a bit like something Nine Inch Nails would do. This is one of the few groups that can change style to represent the mainstream interest in power-pop and noise and still retain artistic credibility. Amazing. Mind you though, they do a good job of it. They continually surprise but never shock. I suppose this could be the reason why they've been so successful.