R.E.M., ‘7in-83-88’ (IRS)
Vinyl accounts for a growing percentage of physical music sales — and while the numbers are still small — far less than CDs, digital sales, or illegal downloads — it is one of the only sectors of the music industry that’s growing. As such, collectors will savor the new R.E.M. box set available only on seven-inch vinyl records.
The box collects eleven of the band’s singles from 1983 through 1988. That means gems like “Finest Worksong” and “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry),” which were some of the group’s best tracks.
Many fans will already have the original singles, and certainly the music on CD, and maybe MP3. But what’s true about “7in-83-88,” and one of the reasons vinyl sales continue to grow, is that the music sounds significantly warmer and clearer here than on any digital format.
As recorded music sales in general continue to decline, “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine),” included here, seems to be an appropriate anthem for the music business. But at least on vinyl, that end sounds fine.
Other new releases
Various Artists, “When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel, 1926-1936,” 3 CDs (Tompkins Square)
Taylor Swift, “1989,” vinyl (Big Machine)
Smashing Pumpkins, “Monument to an Elegy” (BMG)