REM Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

REM Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

REM was formed in 1980 in Athens Georgia USA by 4 students studying at the University of Georgia. They were; Bill Berry (drums), Mike Mills (bass guitar), Peter Buck (guitar) and Michael Stipe (vocals). REM were one of the first alternative rock bands and released their first single, “Radio Free Europe” in 1981. Which was followed by the release of the “Chronic Town” EP in 1982 and their first album, “Murmur” in 1983.

On September 21st 2011 the band announced on their website that it was “calling it a day as a band”. During their 30 year history, they filled stadiums and used their status to comment on the important issues of the day through their music.

Best REM Albums Of All Time

Here then are REM’s albums listed from the rest to the best as we see them. If you disagree with any of our selections or placements feel free to let us know in the comments.

15. Around the Sun (2004)

There was no such thing as a bad REM album, but it is widely recognised that “Around The Sun” was their worst album. Even REM have admitted to feeling bored when performing the songs from this album.

14. Up (1998)

There was always going to be quite a tough transition period after Bill Berry left the band and their change of producer and “Up” was the result. It just lacks something, that’s not to say there aren’t some great tracks, just it’s inconsistent and not up to their usual standard.

13. Collapse Into Now (2011)

They had talked about splitting for years before the release of their final album and they finished in style. The opening track “Discoverer” gives a hint of what we’re in store for, and it’s safe to say REM left us wanting more.

12. Accelerate (2008)

After reaching their low point with “Around The Sun”, the band came back with something more like the original REM we had all grown to appreciate with this offering. This album is not as good as their best works but it’s a far cry from their worst.

11. Reveal (2001)

This album marks a return to top form after a hiatus that was beginning to feel terminal. It had been a few years before the band had written a truly great single until “Imitation of Life” which became one of their biggest hits. Other highlights include the opening track “The Lifting” and “All The Way to Reno”.

10. Fables Of The Reconstruction (1985)

This could have made the top 5 if not for the lack of punch from the production. This album had all the right ingredients sadly not mixed correctly which left the whole, somewhat lacking according to many fans at least.

9. Green (1988)

“Green” was their first album recorded for Warner Bros and it has plenty of plus points. There is however, around a quarter of this album that is less than REM’s best which is why it only makes number 9 in our rankings.

8. Monster (1994)

“Monster” is the album of contradictions, often seen as a commercial failure and yet it went 3x platinum in the UK and 4x platinum in the US. This album is REM’s foray into the realms of glam rock, which when it works, works well. The stand out tracks include “Let Me In”, “What’s The Frequency Kenneth?” and “Strange Currencies”.

7. Out Of Time (1991)

This album produced 4 singles; “Radio Song”, “Near Wild Heaven”, “Shiny Happy People” and “Losing My Religion”. Other tracks that stand out for us include the amazing “Country Feedback” which could be the best track they ever recorded.

6. New Adventures In Hi-Fi (1996)

Not so much a new album, as many of the tracks from this album had been aired previously, more like a perfected form of earlier material. Any new songs sound similar to older tunes but it doesn’t matter because this was REM letting the music take them where it wanted to go. 

5. Life’s Rich Pageant (1986)

This was the band’s most commercially successful album up to this point in their career and contains all you’d expect from REM. “Begin The Begin” sets the pace for the album and marks a new style of song than they’d ever made before its release.

4. Document (1987)

This could have been number one on our list, in fact any of the top 5 could easily have been number one. However, side two doesn’t quite reach the standard set by side one. After the commercially sounding “Life’s Rich Pageant”, “Document” brought them back to where they always felt more comfortable.

3. Reckoning (1984)

Alternatively titled “File Under Water” which was written on the spine of the vinyl album cover, “Reckoning” was the second studio album released by the band. This was a great album and as we said above, could just as easily have been our number one choice.

2. Murmur (1983)

Probably one of the greatest debut albums ever made, “Murmur” establishes what was to become the sound of REM from day one. A unique sound easily identifiable from any other band of the time (or since). Including such classic tracks as “Radio Free Europe” and “Talk About The Passion”. “Murmur” introduced the world to a new sound, the sound of REM.

1. Automatic for the People (1992)

An album of deep contrasts, “Automatic For The People” is our top choice mainly because it serves as a great introduction to the talents of REM. Tracks like “Drive”, “Find The River”, “Nightswimming”, “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite”, “Man On The Moon” and “Everybody Hurts” to name but a few, all were to be found on this offering from 1992.

All REM Albums In Chronological Order

Fables of the Reconstruction 1985
Lifes Rich Pageant 1986
Out of Time1991
Automatic for the People1992
New Adventures in Hi-Fi1996
Around the Sun 2004
Collapse into Now2011

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best selling REM album?

REM’s best selling album is “Out Of Time” with over 16,000,000 copies sold worldwide.

What is the newest REM album?

Their last studio album was “Collapse Into Now” (2011) but they released a 25th anniversary edition of “New Adventures In Hi-Fi” in 2021.

What is the first REM album?

The first REM album was Murmur which was released on April 12th 1983.

What is REM’s most famous song?

REM’s most famous song is “Losing My Religion” from the album “Out Of Time”. It reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991.

When did REM start?

REM were formed in 1980 in Athens, Georgia, USA.

What genre is REM?

REM are classified under the following genres; Post-Punk, Jangle pop, alternative rock, college rock and folk rock.

Who are the members of REM?

The members of REM were Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Bill Berry and Peter Buck.

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