The group REM is known for their innovative music and videos. But later this month, the band will take a step back releasing “In Time,” a compilation of some of their best know songs.
“It's very unusual for us to be looking backwards, rather than forwards. But it’s an opportunity just to enjoy what we’ve done — to this point,” says bassist Mike Mills.
With their new album, the otherwise forward looking members of REM have put together a retrospective of the music they’ve made together over the past 15 years.
But don’t call it their “greatest hits”
“Greatest hits is a little bit of a cheesy term. Best of sounds a little better,” says lead singer Michael Stipe.
Guitarist Peter Buck adds, “Some of the things were actually hit singles. Some of them are tracks we just liked from the records.”
Not waiting for the album’s official release, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Buck have already hit the road, playing concerts in North America since late August.
Mills says, “We’ve been out of the pubic consciousness in America maybe for a little while, this seems like a good reminder.”
Whether REM fans need any reminding is debatable. The band, which put out its first album in 1982, has been cited as one of the most influential and creative forces in pop music.
But the past few years have brought some major changes: including drummer Bill Berry’s decision to leave the band in 1997.
Stipe says, “It took us a couple of records to kind of become a trio with the confidence in each other and in our song writing abilities that I think it requires to continue doing what we do. I feel like we’re there now. Putting out a best of kind of closes one door and opens another one.”
“In Time,” features two new songs including the just released “Bad Day”.
“We’re in the middle of a real productive cycle right now. We have tons of songs that we’re working on for the next record which will be out some time next year,” says Buck.
And despite making 17 albums and almost 50 music videos together, REM still relishes the experience of performing live.
Stipe says, “You’re dealing with three people who are huge music fans and really great friends. And this is my life’s work. This is what I want to do.”
Mills adds, “And the fact that you can get out there and share it with a lot of other people who are enjoying it as much as you are — you know? It’s the best job in the world.”