Released in 1987, Document was the first in a series of Scott Lilt-produced album by Athens’s favorite sons that took them from the heroes of college radio to the one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Their relationship with Litt would continue for the next five records.
Thanks to the folks at EMI, who now own the IRS Records’ catalogue, Document is getting the anniversary treatment. Though the band’s sound had already been introduced and defined on their first four records, Document found Michael Stipe singing clearer (well, clear for Stipe) so his brilliant, if often confusing lyrics take the bigger spotlight, and Mike Mills, Peter Buck and Bill Berry coalesce into one of the strongest rock bands of the 80s and 90’s.
The 11 tracks on Document included some of the band’s biggest hits, like “Finest Worksong,” “It’s the End of the World” and “The One I Love”. It also includes “Exhuming McCarthy,” one of their most underrated songs. The 25th Anniversary edition includes plenty of goodies for R.E.M. completests like postcards of band members and an expanded album booklet, but the highlight is easily the until now unreleased Work Tour live album recorded in Holland in 1987. That live show included a slew of songs off of Document, as well as spirited versions of “Driver 8,” “Fall on Me,” “Begin the Begin” and “So. Central Rain.” The live CD alone is worth getting this set.