The Best R.E.M. Songs – As Judged By R.E.M. Themselves

It's the playlist of dreams...

The induction of R.E.M. into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame last week brought a wave of love from social media. A rare interview from all four members on CBS Mornings was followed by the ceremony itself, and a surprise performance by the reconvened legends.

Will it be a one-off? It’s looking likely, sadly, but the move has spurred on fond memories of R.E.M. and their peerless catalogue.

Arguments over the best R.E.M. will rage for decades, but in a new move the Athens, Georgia legends have stepped into the breach, and nominated their own favourites.

The 40 song playlist allows each member to pick 10 tracks, starting with their all-time favourite – and the picks are certainly revealing.

Michael Stipe opens the list with ‘Green’ favourite ‘World Leader Pretend’, and the frontman moves between huge hits and deep cuts. ‘Country Feedback’ was a stalwart of the band’s live sets, and it makes his picks – but then, so too does electrifying 21st century cut ‘Supernatural Superserious’ and mid 80s song ‘The Flowers Of Guatemala’.

Guitarist Peter Buck opens his picks with ‘Feeling Gravity Pull’ before opting for ‘Reckoning’ era song ‘So. Central Rain’. He’s equally unafraid to include a few rogue choices, including ‘Reveal’ single ‘All The Way To Reno’ alongside ‘Try Not To Breathe’ – an ‘Out Of Time’ era track that saw the guitarist experiment with other stringed instruments.

Bass player and backing vocalist Mike Mills starts with early favourite ‘Wolves, Lower’ but his cuts span super-hits like ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ or ‘What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?’ and latter-era song ‘Living Well Is The Best Revenge’.

Finally, genial drummer Bill Berry – who departed the band in 1997 – opens his selection with ‘Beach Ball’ before nominating ‘Up’ single ‘Daysleeper’. There’s room here, too, for the unexpected – ‘Voices Of Harold’, anyone?

Closing with ‘Automatic For The People’ song ‘Find The River’, this playlist is an apt reminder that R.E.M. remain one of the truly great American bands.

Related: Strange Currencies – R.E.M. On ‘Monster’

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