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.
• Rob Sheffield Says Goodbye to R.E.M.
• From Art School to Hall of Fame: R.E.M. Tours Through Their Discography
• R.E.M. in the Real World – Rolling Stone’s 1987 Cover Story
• R.E.M.’s 15 Greatest Videos