Sound — 9
From an Athens, Georgia garage band to international superstars, REM has stayed true to their sound through and through. While a first time listener could go out and purchase a whole collection of albums spanning the 20 years of great REM tunes it is much more cost effective to buy this beginning compilation, spanning from 1982-1987. IRS contains twenty one incredibly catchy REM songs from their early, small show, years. For a true REM fan there also is the IRS collector's edition, And I Feel Fine including twenty one other 1982-1987, B-sides, rarities and live performances. With other lesser known country and western melodies, IRS demonstrates the musical talent of everyone's favorite nerd rockers. REM in these early years can be seen as possessing all of the talent that any aspiring band could ever want. This album doesn't only chronicle the beginning of REM, but rather the beginning of modern day music and the beauty of sound.
Lyrics — 10
Featuring numerous hits including, It's The End Of The World As We Know It, and The One I Love, REM: the Best of the IRS Years is a fun and interesting look at the band's musical history. It's The End Of The World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine) is fast paced rock/folk/pop song sure to please even the most critical listener. Intertwining light, upbeat, chords with a heavy and almost comical prediction of a fast approaching apocalypse REM succeeds in producing one of, if not the most catchy songs of the decade. The One I love, on the other hand is somewhat of a pop ballad with some of the most appealing bass and guitar lines of it's time. The song is an apology to The One I Love, regardless this song still combines sharp vocals with even more piercingly beautiful, and tangy guitar riffs.
Overall Impression — 9
With over eighteen later hits spanning from 1988-2003, IRS provides an interesting preamble to more well-known songs such as, Man On The Moon, and Losing My Religion.After listening to this album one can see the roots that stretch throughout REM's career. A career including the beginning of a new sound called grunge, categorized by quick guitar riffs and heavy bass, later perfected by Nirvana. Spreading from a small time band in a small town, to one of the most well known bands of the 1990's REM is a true American success story. IRS exemplifies musical variety, featuring everything from slow piano, to classical guitar, to driving bass, and drums from everywhere inbetween. With such a musical motley to choose from, the listener is bound to find their own niche. This album is pure bliss.