This litle 5 song EP was the high-water mark for an college/alternative-rock band from Athens, Georgia. Murmur, the first LP, was nearly as good. But everything after that, when lead singer Michael Stipe actually started using intelligible lyrics as a concession to "audience accessibility," was in my opinion part of the decline of REM. This is not to say that REM didn't produce some good Southern Alt-Rock all the way up to and through the Out of Time LP, (after that, I just can't bear it anymore), but rather that the quality steadily declined following the overlooked Chronic Town and the not-so-overlooked Murmur LP.
Gardening at Night and 1,000,000 are simply infectious, and who cares about understanding the "lyrics." Indeed, I believe that Stipe is listed as "lead vocal instrument" in the liner notes. And, such description fairly characterizes what he was doing with his voice in the songs, notwithstanding the occasional distinguishable word or phrase. In any event, if you want to know why the band called REM became so big, go back to Chronic Town and Murmur.