Release Date: Nov 15, 2011
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
No better time than a breakup for a long goodbye: R.E.M.'s eighth compilation LP is a 40-song blowout. Chronological evenhandedness short-shrifts their vaunted 1980s but shows that their confused past 15 years did produce some Georgia peaches – see "Leaving New York" and "Überlin," which give the dreaminess of their early days a mournful cast. There are also three songs recorded after 2011's Collapse Into Now: "A Month of Saturdays" is Green-like dance rock; "We All Go Back to Where We Belong" goes to breakup-ballad heaven; and "Hallelujah" is a forlorn art-pop meltdown with Michael Stipe and Mike Mills sharing one last golden yodel before receding into the great beyond.
R.E.M. spent the majority of their 31-year career putting out top-quality albums, while a chunk of their audience wished they would just break up already. Though some of this was a bit reactionary and a by-product of their roots in the nascent indie rock scene of the 1980s, it was mainly a consequence of one of the band's most admirable qualities-- a restless desire to reinvent themselves with each record and create a discography in which each new entry had a distinct character.
Every time a compilation album chronicling a band’s career comes out, there’s bound to be a batch of songs missing that causes consternation amongst fans. The new two-disc, 40 song send-off for R.E.M., who called it quits in September, called Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982 – 2011, so named after a line made by guitarist Peter Buck about the band’s output in 1988, falls certainly into that category. There is no “Daysleeper”.
The title would be a great joke about typical anthology bullshit, if it was actually a joke. The problem is R.E.M.’s career contains more than two discs worth of truth and heart—know many bands with more than ten good albums?—and a lot fewer lies and garbage than the ratio of each included here would lead a newcomer (presumably who this is for? In 20 years maybe?) to believe. So first the lies and garbage.
A remarkable aspect of R.E.M.’s career retrospective is that even at two discs, there are still songs missing. No “E-Bow the Letter”. No “Find the River”. No “Wolves, Lower”. Maybe they would have been included had the band dropped the final three tracks on the compilation — new ….
Four guys in Athens, Georgia start a band. They play shows, get signed to a local label, work their way up the college rock ranks, get signed to a major, become rock stars, implode, and (mostly) recover..
There are a lot of oddities about the thirty-first and final year in the life of the indie rock band R.E.M., not least the fact that after barely promoting their fifteenth album, March’s Collapse Into Now, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe have just wound up a sort of posthumous press blitz to talk up Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, the career-spanning best of that was announced concurrently with the band’s split. Emerging just in time for Christmas, scant few months after CIN (and clearly considerably better supported by Warners), with the last three slots given over to the obligatory new tracks, there's reason to look upon Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage as a last, opportunist payday. And yet...
R.E.M. close out their Warner contract -- not to mention their entire career -- with the double-disc Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage, their first compilation to combine early recordings from their time at IRS with their major-label hits for Warner. It’s misleading to look at these as merely two separate eras, as it more accurately breaks down into a three-act structure: the IRS years when R.E.M.
Now that R.E.M. have split, it’s the end of the world as we know it — but, apparently, not the end of repackaging their work. Fans will already own the hits on the two-disc set Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage (1982-2011), a ”best of” from the I.R.S. and Warner Bros. years ….
It may have originally been planned as an easy way to put their lucrative contract with Warner Bros. to bed, but R.E.M.‘s Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982 – 2011 anthology ultimately serves as a well-timed career retrospective now that the band has called it quits. If there’s a gun to my head, they’re my all-time favorite band, but more than a decade’s worth of middling-quality albums have diminished their legacy, and unfortunately, the structure of Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage bears this out.
When R.E.M. announced their dissolution a little over a month ago, it was shocking only in that it seemed like they would always be around. After all, we've had 30 years of consistent output from the Athens, Georgia, college-rock pioneers. And as this hastily released anthology affirms - particularly disc one, which focuses on their IRS and early 90s Warner breakout years - R.E.M.
Finding out that R.E.M. had broken up, was a little like hearing a beloved old friend had died-one you hadn’t been in touch with for a long time. It took a while, as you picked over your wonderful, funny and poignant times together. And then the tears came. You certainly remembered the ’80s ….
A 40-track career overview that puts every other R.E.M. ‘best-of’ in the shade. Paul Whitelaw 2011 Following R.E.M.’s (perhaps overdue) split in September 2011, the release of a career-spanning retrospective was as inevitable as the shrugs which greeted its announcement. But this two-disc compilation, featuring 40 songs chosen by R.E.M.