Much as the outtake and B-side collection Dead Letter Office anthologizes the many oddities of R.E.M., 1988's Eponymous is a document testifying to the astounding strength of their formative I.R.S. years. Eponymous reinforces the notion that the inchoate R.E.M. was a rare and brilliant gem of a group. While a somewhat brief CD, it provides quality listening from start to finish with hits such as "The One I Love," "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville," and "Driver 8" tucked amid the likes of an alternate take of "Finest Worksong" and the wonderfully mysterious "Gardening at Night." Especially noteworthy is the inclusion of the original seven-inch version of "Radio Free Europe," the band's 1981 release.
''Eponymous'' is the first compilation album album by R.E.M., released in 1988. It was their last authorized release on I.R.S. Records, to whom they had been contracted since 1982, having just signed with Warner Bros. Records. The title is a pun on the convention in the recording industry to refer to a band's self-titled album as their "Eponymous Album".
''Eponymous'' is notable for its inclusion of several rare or alternate versions of known tracks. Spanning from the ''Chronic Town'' EP to the previous year's breakthrough hit album ''Document'', ''Eponymous'' provides a fair overview of R.E.M.'s early work.
The album features the alternate title "File Under Grain", a reference to the cover photograph. A previous album, ''Document'', had "File Under Fire" inscribed on it and ''Reckoning'', featured the words "File Under Water". Inside the album a photograph of singer Michael Stipe with the words "They Airbrushed My Face" across his eyes.
Released in October 1988, just a month before R.E.M.'s Warner Bros. debut ''Green'' appeared, ''Eponymous'' reached #44 in the US and #69 in the UK. - Wikipedia