Alternative rock pioneers R.E.M. released Eponymous on the IRS label on October 17, 1988. The album is a collection of some of the best material from R.E.M.’s first five albums. But it’s not a “Greatest Hits” collection, since there were few R.E.M. “hits” in broader sense, anyway, prior to 1987. Before “The One I Love” came out with Document in 1987, R.E.M.’s only real chart action was on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock listing for airplay on album rock stations. “The One I Love” was their first placement above #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for all sales and airplay, and it topped out at #2 in late-87. IRS released Eponymous shortly after R.E.M. left for a new contract with Warner Brothers. The album was a last chance for IRS to cash in on R.E.M.’s growing popularity. Nevertheless, Eponymous is also a great compilation of eight of R.E.M.’s better-known songs from 1981-1987, plus a the original version of “Radio Free Europe,” remixed versions of “Finest Worksong” and “Gardening At Night,” and a previously unreleased track, “Romance.”
For the uninitiated looking to explore R.E.M. for the first time, Eponymous is a good place to start (but only after you view my own R.E.M. “Best Of…” playlist in the Playlist Vault at DrRock.com). In addition, Eponymous is available as download tracks from iTunes click here) and as a CD from Amazon (click here).