Their last full-length on IRS before making the jump to Warner Bros, capping really a perfect run from 1982 (Chronic Town) to 1987. The “No. 5” on the cover and opposite table of contents on the rear refers to this being the fifth album. (I love many of the albums after the move to the big leagues too, but these first five full length records are just perfect).

It was recorded in Nashville and produced by R.E.M. and Scott Litt, and includes a cover of Wire’s “Strange” and R.E.M. classics like “It’s The End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” and “The One I Love.” My freshman year at Boston University everyone thought the lyrics included “don’t get caught in Warren Towers” (a big dorm) but I think he really says “foreign.”

I remain amazed at how many people call in dedications or include “The One I Love” in wedding receptions: does “This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind / a simple prop, to occupy my time” sound like a love song to you?

My copy via Beverly Coin & Jewelry.