”Talk About the Passion”
In which Michael Stipe’s twangy French (”Combien du temps?”) is almost as endearing as Peter Buck’s shy, stutter-stepping guitar hook.
”Fall on Me”
A captivating sonic layer cake from 1986’s already-rich Lifes Rich Pageant.
”So. Central Rain”
The lesson behind this slow-burner? That love means always hearing Stipe say ”I’m sorry.”
Stipe and bassist Mike Mills (on piano) stand alone together on a singularly vulnerable ballad.
A jangly-sweet ode to the New Orleans-bound Crescent train that’s so deeply Southern, Dale Earnhardt Jr. named his autobiography after it.
”It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
A talking-blues history of plane crashes and famous Leonards (Bruce! Bernstein!), and the defining anthem for the information-overload age.
”What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”
Only they could turn the story of a random attack on Dan Rather into a shimmering, live-wire rocker.
”The One I Love”
Romantic angst wrapped not just in ”fire” but ”fiiii-uhuhuhhhhhr.”
”(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”
Mills’ girlfriend moved home to Maryland, and all he got was this stellar country-rock rambler.