Rolling Stone (11/27/03, p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...[This] retrospective of the more cerebral Warner years shows that R.E.M. stuck to their principles and kept on their path..."
Entertainment Weekly (10/31/03, p.74) - "...The band's most user-friendly album....Weepy keepers like "Losing My Religion" and "Everybody Hurts" [join] two new songs [that] fall firmly within the group's tradition of beatific/moody sing-alongs you can't get out of your head..." - Rating: A-
Q (12/03, p.152) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Supremely melodic, slightly unsettling music that, in its archetypally opaque way, has usually managed to soundtrack it time..."
Uncut (1/04, p.128) - 4 stars out of 5 - "'Country Feedback', always a favourite of 'true' fans, is rendered here in all its half-spoken, ragged glory, pure spilt essence of R.E.M."
CMJ (11/3/03, p.9) - "...Hearing all these tracks on one collection makes it pleasingly apparent that this is one of the very few commercially successful bands that have maintained quality songwriting throughout its career without selling out once..."
Mojo (Publisher) (12/03, p.126) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Two CDs of some of the most melodic and fiercely intelligent music of the last 15 years..."
R.E.M.: Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Bill Berry.
Includes liner notes by Peter Buck.
Many of those who revere R.E.M. tend to fixate on the Athens band's earlier days, when the Byrds-gone-new-wave jangle of Peter Buck's guitar and the inscrutable murmurs of curly-headed frontman Michael Stipe ruled the college-rock roost and set the standard for what came to be known as "alternative rock." Thus, it's often overlooked that the band didn't simply fade away after breaking through to the mainstream in the late-'80s. True to its title, IN TIME: THE BEST OF R.E.M. (1988-2003) chronicles the journey the group made after they became stars.
Ever willing and able to defy expectations, R.E.M. steadfastly refused to commercialize their sound or tart it up to fit the arenas that became their venues. IN TIME addresses the prolific 1988-1992 era with everything from the driving fan-favorite "Orange Crush" to the transcendent, tension-filled folk-rocker "Losing My Religion" and the soul-influenced, empathetic anthem "Everybody Hurts." Representing their days after the departure of drummer Bill Berry are songs such as the dusty desert twang of "All the Way to Reno" and the "It's the End of the World As We Know It" companion piece, "Bad Day." Observing their chosen post-fame path, it's obvious that long after Stipe had shorn his locks and the music industry made them rich, R.E.M. remained staunchly committed to creating the kind of artful, idiosyncratic music that had made them alt-rock icons in the first place.