(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Song: "Finest Worksong"
Release Date: March, 1988
From the Album: Document (1987)
Quick Take: The opening track on R.E.M.'s commercial breakthrough album, Document, "Finest Worksong" is early proof that the bandmembers were no longer shy about engaging the commercial marketplace. The production, by Scott Litt (who would go on to work on all of their most commercially successful material), is a bit murkier than the glossy and straightforward Lifes Rich Pageant, but "Finest Worksong" has a downright assertive drum mix that shows Bill Berry truly leading the band for the first time, and Pete Buck's guitars seem to be turned up a few notches as well. Over this, Michael Stipe's lead vocal sounds much more commanding, almost hectoring, than he had ever successfully managed before, even if his lyrics remain opaque. The IRS years retrospective Eponymous features an alternate mix of "Finest Worksong" that adds subtle but effective horns; Buck's liner notes sheepishly admit that they should have used this brighter, punchier version on the original album.
Courtesy: Stewart Mason (allmusic.com)