Gem of the Week: R.E.M.’s Complete Unplugged Sessions

21 May


I rushed out first thing in the morning to purchase R.E.M.’s Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions that became available on CD and for digital download on May 19th.

After R.E.M. mutually split up in 2011 fans like myself now look forward to these hidden gem compilations.

The band actually released the unplugged sessions last month in limited edition vinyl for Record Store Day held on April 19th.

I couldn’t get a copy of the unplugged sessions for my collection on Record Store day. I also got disappointed after seeing inflated prices for the vinyl edition that showed up the following day on eBay and Amazon, ranging from $299 as the lowest to over $1,000 being the highest. I knew it would be available digitally on May 19th  and I was counting the days!

I never get tired of mentioning that R.E.M is my favorite band on earth. I wish I could find the right words to sum up what their music means to me. In the meantime, I thank R.E.M. for their gifted talent that stirred inspiration and freedom inside me throughout my teens and even now.

The Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions, is a  fantastic collection of their songs and R.E.M. did a great job performing their songs acoustically.  The simplified versions of their songs will appeal to fans but I also hope it will attract a whole new generation of listeners.

My favorites from the unplugged sessions are World Leader Pretend, End Of The World As We Know It, Fall On Me, So Central Rain and the best version ever of The One I Love.

Mike Mills of R.E.M. got interviewed by Gary Graff for the article: R.E.M. Has a ‘Lot of Stuff in the Vaults.‘, which covered what the band plans to do with their previously unreleased material.

” We know we’ve got some really good things hanging around. We just want to put them out in a way that makes them as special as possible, because they’re special to us. I mean, if we’ve been sitting on stuff for this long, why go cheap with it now? Let’s try to make it be special rather than just dumping out the vaults.” Mike Mills stated.

The band has compiled the rare recordings and it’s already available on Amazon. The first compilation is: The Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987 and the other is The Complete Rarities: Warner Bros: 1988-2011.

The B-side track listings from their early I.R.S. days are not that rare to me however, as most of those songs were on their 1987 Dead Letter Office album.  The second compilation from their Warner Bros years has a few I want to check out.  Either way I’m excited and will be getting both along with any future archival special releases and box sets. When it comes to R.E.M.’s music they can keep it coming.

The clip below is from R.E.M.’s 2001 unplugged performance of So Central Rain linked from Peace Atom’s You Tube Channel.

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