R.E.M.'s full-length debut is a landmark album that set the standard for the next 10 years of indie rock. The Athens quartet combined Byrdsy, folk-rock guitar jangle with obscurantist lyrics and a post-punk compositional sensibility to create a vibrant new sound that would soon be imitated by every high-school poet with a Rickenbacker guitar. R.E.M. was also one of the first bands to make the long, hard journey from college radio (when it was still college radio) to mainstream acceptance, and managed the difficult task of maintaining its integrity at every step along the way.