Automatic for the People [25th Anniversary Edition]

Automatic for the People [25th Anniversary Edition]

by R.E.M.R.E.M.

CD(Special Edition / Anniversary Edition)

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Overview

Turning away from the sweet pop of Out of Time, R.E.M. created a haunting, melancholy masterpiece with Automatic for the People. At its core, the album is a collection of folk songs about aging, death, and loss, but the music has a grand, epic sweep provided by layers of lush strings, interweaving acoustic instruments, and shimmering keyboards. Automatic for the People captures the group at a crossroads, as they moved from cult heroes to elder statesmen, and the album is a graceful transition into their new status. It is a reflective album, with frank discussions on mortality, but it is not a despairing record -- "Nightswimming," "Everybody Hurts," and "Sweetness Follows" have a comforting melancholy, while "Find the River" provides a positive sense of closure. R.E.M. have never been as emotionally direct as they are on Automatic for the People, nor have they ever created music quite as rich and timeless, and while the record is not an easy listen, it is the most rewarding record in their oeuvre. [Automatic for the People received a lavish deluxe reissue for its 25th anniversary in 2017, expanding the album to a triple-CD set that also features a Blu-ray containing a surround mix of the album, music videos, and the album's original press kit. Of the two bonus discs of music, the second is familiar, containing the often-bootlegged November 19, 1992 set at Athens' 40 Watt Club. Sinewy, punchy, and packing the occasional surprise-the foreboding "Drive" is given swing, the Troggs ("Love Is All Around"), and the Stooges ("Funtime") are both covered-the set features R.E.M. at a peak, sounding confident that they're making rich, complex music that still rocks. As good as this is, it pales next to the third disc which, in the fashion of the demos disc that accompanied the 2016 deluxe reissue of Out of Time, traces the evolution of the composition of the album through rough drafts, snippets, fleeting ideas, and unfinished songs. Part of the fascination of this collection of demos is hearing the band exploring lighter territory than their finished album-this is especially true of "Mike's Pop Song," a glorious bit of power pop that holds its own with the Spongetones and Hoodoo Gurus and has no place on Automatic -- but it's also clear that all four members were orbiting the same moody star, discovering their own paths around this dark body. Here, the handful of completed songs are bunched at the beginning, then the disc returns to certain themes and melodies, giving a sense of collective forward movement that's quite appealing and makes the disc work as an album of its own. It's ragged but it contains its own shape and it sustains an atmosphere -- one that's more comforting than sad -- as well as its parent album.]

Product Details

Release Date: 11/10/2017
Label: Craft Recordings
UPC: 0888072029767
catalogNumber: 44
Rank: 7116

Album Credits

Performance Credits

R.E.M.   Primary Artist
Knox Chandler   Cello
Patti Gouvas   Violin
George Hanson   Conductor
Reid Harris   Viola
John Keane   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Steel Guitar
Kathleen Kee   Cello
Scott Litt   Harmonica,Clavinet
Elizabeth Murphy   Cello
Heidi Nitchie   Viola
Lonnie Ottzen   Violin
Sandy Salzinger   Violin
Sou-Chun Su   Violin
Deborah Workman   Oboe
Denise Berginson-Smith   Violin
Jody Taylor   Violin
Paul Murphy   Leader,Viola
Daniel Laufer   Cello

Technical Credits

David Bowie   Composer
Iggy Pop   Composer
John Paul Jones   Orchestral Arrangements
Peter Buck   Composer
Robert Hall   Drum Technician
John Keane   Engineer
Scott Litt   Producer
Mike Mills   Composer
Reg Presley   Composer
R.E.M.   Producer
Michael Stipe   Composer,Art Direction
Sig Sigworth   Organ Curator
Bill Berry   Composer
Tom Recchion   Art Direction
Fredrik Nilsen   Back Cover Photo

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