R.E.M.’s first major label album still stands as a master class in how a band can remain resolute to their own vision while rising above big business demands. Act local; think global indeed
By 1988, R.E.M. were unlikely megastars in the making. The band who had pretty much invented college rock with their strange, inscrutable lyricism and folky guitar jangle were moving from cult status into inevitable mainstream success. The year before, they’d released Document, a dark and monolithic set of deeply-serious songs that had spawned their first top ten single in the form of the anti-love song The One I Love and with sales on an upwards curve, Warners (who had already harvested The Replacements, The B52s and HÃÂ¼sker DÃÂ¼) came calling with designs on U2-like crossover for the Georgian four piece.
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