Chris Suellentrop has an amusing retrospective of “the best rock band of the last two decades of the 20th century” at Slate:
R.E.M.’s fans have been saying “R.E.M. sucks” since 1984. Reckoning, the band’s second album (not counting the Chronic Town EP), sucked because it wasn’t Murmur. The next album, Fables of the Reconstruction (or was it Reconstruction of the Fables?), sucked because it was too soft. Life’s Rich Pageant was louder but sucked because it was intelligible. The Top 10 Document sucked because it was too popular. Green, the first album R.E.M. put out that wasn’t on the IRS label, sucked because it was too Warner Bros. Out of Time sucked because it was too pop. Automatic for the People–well, nobody thought Automatic sucked. But all the albums since Automatic: They suck.