#3 Automatic for the People, R.E.M., Warner Brothers, 1992
For many, many years I fought against letting this be my favorite R.E.M. album. While Murmer ranked higher than Automatic last time I listed, it has since fallen out of the Top 25 - not because it isn't an amazing record (it would make the Top 30), but because not only have my music tastes exploded since '01, but Automatic has slowly but surely risen to the top of my listening rotation. It has become more and more the go to R.E.M. record when I want to hear Stipe's soulful croon, Mills' bass licks, Buck's energetic hooks, or Berry's cogent percussion. I guess I've finally accepted the fact that everybody's favorite R.E.M album is also my favorite. Sometimes, everybody hurts. And Automatic hurts so good.