Compiled to celebrate R.E.M.'s apparent return to form with their new album:
#5: R.E.M. "Talk About the Passion" from Murmer
Every mid-80's college student with a guitar tried to figure out this lick. On revisiting these albums it surprises me how many of the memorable riffs actually came from Mike Mills on bass.
#4 The Replacements "I Will Dare" from Let It Be
The R.E.M connection helped sell the Mats to college radio stations who were still taking their cues from MTV. It's a great song but can you imagine "I Will Dare" without Buck's searching lead lines?
#3 R.E.M."Wolves, Lower" from the Chronic Town EP
Here's where we first heard the jangle and arpeggios ( as well as the mumbled lyrics) that inspired a hundred really sincere bands to form.
#2 Full Time Men "I Got Wheels" from Fast is My Name EP
Had to throw a curve. This is from Buck's 1985 EP with Keith Streng of the Fleshtones.Honestly the whole thing is one great guitar hook. Can't find it anymore so here's an mp3.
#1 R.E.M. "The One I Love" from Document
Buck used every trick in his arsenal, added a touch of distortion, and helped make "The One I Love" R.E. M.'s first major hit. Inescapable on Friday nights driving to football games in South Carolina's Low Country in 1987.
R.E.M. "Driver 8", "Shiny Happy People" ( hate the song but this is about "catchiest" riffs) and "Losing My Religion"
Decemberists "Down By the Water"