709. Oddfellows Local 151

Come 1987, REM had already conquered the world of indie-cool with four solid albums of ever increasing finesse, articulation, even a hint of crossover commercial success. Which made album #5 Document pivotal in terms of what might happen next. Yes, it continued the commercial ascendancy, but it also went the other way with the likes of Oddfellows Local 151, a track that Peter Buck referred to at the time as either the worst thing they’d ever done, or the best, he wasn’t sure yet. Either way, its deep fried southern weirdness expanded the stage for one of those outfits who, love ’em or hate ’em, still had a long way to go.

REM-1987-live

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