Up was REM's first record without Bill Berry and it is actually pretty great although it wasn't that well received at the time. I loved the ruse that the band played by releasing the single Daysleeper first which was a slice of Automatic styled acoustic pop from the band. Anyone who was suckered into that must have been slightly perturbed when the hoarse sounding Stipe started squawking "HEY HEY" on Lotus, which seems to be, for all intents and purposes, a song about tripping. There is something sinuous and sexy about this song and while on first listen, it sounds slightly innocuous, its charms sink there way deeply into your cranium. I'm not sure what the last great REM song was but this is definitely a good one from the post-Berry period.
Update: I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and read today that REM have broken up. Really it should have of happened years ago. With the lifeless live albums and seemingly never ending greatest hits packages, it just seemed to be getting worse and worse. I actually think that Up was their last consistently good record and Reveal had three nice little pop gems on it. My friend who is a lifelong REM fan tried to convince me the last album was good but I really couldn’t hear it. Still, they had a great run of incredible albums in the 80’s and 90’s so as a music lover I’m thankful for the joy that they bought me over the years (and I will still defend New Adventures in Hi-Fi to my death). RIP REM.