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Let us now praise R.E.M.: It’s easy to forget what a great cover band Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe are, but from “There She Goes” to “Crazy” to “Superman,” R.E.M. has always chosen and executed other people’s material brilliantly. (OK, “Toys in the Attic” wasn’t such a great idea.) The standout cut, by far, on the I Shot Andy Warhol soundtrack is the group’s stunning version of “Love Is All Around” (the Troggs song, not the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme currently pastiched by Joan Jett). R.E.M.’s “Love” is not a new recording—it was a B-side from the Out of Time period, and it has that album’s exquisite balance of strings, guitar, and mandolin—but it fits this disc’s erratically applied concept of contemporary bands redoing flower-power pop songs, and it humbles everything else on the album (except the incongruous and ferocious original MC5 version of “Kick Out the Jams”). Mike Mills sings lead, which they should let him do more often—not only is his voice a sweet, straightforward change of pace from Michael Stipe, but Stipe’s harmonizing is just beautiful. None of the other covers is anywhere near as impressive, although Ben Lee’s “Itchycoo Park” is charmingly loose, and Jewel’s rendition of “Sunshine Superman” is surprisingly convincing, although it’s a bit ironic (doncha think?) that a film about the impresario of the Velvet Underground repeatedly invokes Donovan: Two of the six retreads on this disc are Donovan songs, and his son is in the movie.

—James Lochart