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4.2 out of 5 stars89
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on September 19, 2013
I ordered this one so that the song 'Stand' would get out of my head and be heard in full by my own choice. The rest of the album is wonderfully done and very memorable, especially Orange Crush. What a nice bonus.
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on March 13, 2003
"Hello, I know you, I knew you, I think I can remember your name...name"
This album is a curiosity. It is half-filled with pop confectionery and half-filled with some mysterious some politico-serious intensely layered fare. This was the debut album with Warner Brothers and one of R.E.M.'s best-selling albums to date. In it is portent of the next two albums to come...the uneven pop-throw-off of Out of Time and the acoustic brilliance of Automatic for the People.
Out of all of R.E.M's records I own it is probably the second to last of ones I relisten too...bringing up the rear would be "Out of Time." With that said though, the artistry of R.E.M. still make it better than most out there.
The nod to pop sensibilities don't stand up to time so well with songs like, "Pop Song 89", "Get Up", and "Stand" which seem to border on the slightly annoying more so than the timeless. But songs like "World Leader Pretend", "Orange Crush" and "Turn You Inside-Out" are some of the band's best works. "World Leader Pretend," is densely layered with the interplay between Stipe and Mills voices blended beautifully together, "It's amazing what devices you can improvise, this is my mistake, let me make it good." Very apropos of the cold war world politics of the times.
"Wrong Child" is delightfully odd. For some reason the voice of this song reminds me of a John Travolta Boy in a Bubble perspective..."I'm not supposed to be like this, but it's OK." I don't know if this has struck anyone else the same, but it's oddly alluring and lends the song intrigue. "I Remember California," is a bass line led mood piece..."lumberboys and girls with tans."
Half of this album is brillance with depth the other half seems to be surface pop...but with that non-throwaway R.E.M. sound. Turn to "Automatic for the People," "Life's Rich Pageant," or "New Adventures in Hi Fi." if you're new to R.E.M. but if your a die-hard fan don't pass on Green.
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on January 31, 2002
It's no accident that "Green" is sandwiched in time between R.E.M.'s most demanding album ("Document") and their most accessible ("Out of Time"). In every sense it is a transitional product, marking the band's movement from parochial to global perspectives and from rock to pop.
The last word of the preceding paragraph may enrage some of the band's fans. But before you hit the "No" button, please let me clarify. I'm not comparing R.E.M. with the here-today-and-thankfully-gone-tomorrow pop that fills the singles charts, but rather with the thankfully-here-for-ever classic pop of the Beatles and Phil Spector (in other words the universal riverbed of pop, of which rock is only a sub-set). R.E.M. were actually stretching the unyielding envelope of rock from 'Radio Free Europe' onwards, but by the time of "Green" such narrow genre boundaries were no more than a plaything in their inquisitive hands.
The transition is appropriately marked by several traits that are now considered to the quintessential hallmarks of R.E.M.'s career, but which really made their first substantive appearance on "Green". All of these traits have their roots in a new found artistic self-confidence that expresses itself as a quantum leap in both vision and technique:
1) Experimentation with new sonic textures.
2) Willingness to risk alienating the established fan-base.
3) A typically post-modern playfulness with musical genres that simultaneously honours and subverts the band's own influences.
Some commentators of course claim to see these traits in the band's earlier work, but very few of these could offer conclusive evidence that they were interpreting the earlier stuff that way at the time it first appeared. It is an easy and excusable mistake to read back into an artist's earlier work insights that emerged at a later date, and I believe that to be the case here. In other words, however good the early albums were (and for me, they include some of the band's best work), they have been largely reinterpreted by critics and established fans in the light of more recent statements.
This leaves "Green", in historical terms, in a rather similar position to "Murmur": A ground-breaking album, not universally appreciated but with a massive cult following, that acted as the springboard for an entire phase in the band's history. Indeed, the last two albums ("Up" and "Reveal") have successfully opened up to deeper exploration several musical motifs that had their genesis in the "Green" sessions.
Of course that sort of historical significance doesn't necessarily make an entire album rewarding to listen to on its own terms, and when I first got my copy home I wondered if I'd made a mistake buying it. However it grew on me by leaps and bounds, and of all R.E.M.'s classic cuts it is now the one I return to most often.
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on November 27, 2001
Nov. 8th George Bush was elected and Green by REM came out. I knew to get it because the band ran ads saying that people should vote and buy the album. I was only 17, so I got the record and hoped Dukakis won. We know how that turned out, but Green was the bomb, and ended up making the band even bigger household names than ever before. You Are The Everthing, World Leader Pretend, The Wrong Child, Hairshirt, and the untitled 11th track are all breathtaking songs featuring Stipe showing off what we all knew he could do: sing. The deep voiced and mumbling long haired troll of Reckoning was long gone. Peter Holsapple toured with them for this record and added a new organ sound to the mix, which I think sometimes sounds like David Lettermans band. This is the last Political with a capital "P" album by R.E.M.. Like U2, the band had pigeonholed itself as some grass roots social causes band (not a bad thing). While forever-independant bands like Fugazi never relent from that forum, R.E.M were moving into corporate rock-land as a band, and a change of image and sound would be in order. They were the most rock star without a cause on Monster.
Their previous record's sound shows up again on Green in places. Orange Crush is very simular to The One I love, and I remember California is much like Oddfellows local 151. Stand is still one of the clearest and most positive personal political anthems around, and you gotta love the wah-wah peddle!
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on November 27, 2001
Nov. 8th George Bush was elected and Green by REM came out. I knew to get it because the band ran ads saying that people should vote and buy the album. I was only 17, so I got the record and hoped Dukakis won. We know how that turned out, but Green was the bomb, and ended up making the band even bigger household names than ever before. You Are The Everthing, World Leader Pretend, The Wrong Child, Hairshirt, and the untitled 11th track are all breathtaking songs featuring Stipe showing off what we all knew he could do: sing. The deep voiced and mumbling long haired troll of Reckoning was long gone. Peter Holsapple toured with them for this record and added a new organ sound to the mix, which I think sometimes sounds like David Lettermans band. This is the last Political with a capital "P" album by R.E.M.. Like U2, the band had pigeonholed itself as some grass roots social causes band (not a bad thing). While forever-independant bands like Fugazi never relent from that forum, R.E.M were moving into corporate rock-land as a band, and a change of image and sound would be in order. They were the most rock star without a cause on Monster.
Their previous record's sound shows up again on Green in places. Orange Crush is very simular to The One I love, and I remember California is much like Oddfellows local 151. Stand is still one of the clearest and most positive personal political anthems around, and you gotta love the wah-wah peddle!
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on October 27, 2001
Green is nothing if not a transitional piece--a transitional piece between IRS Records and Warner Bros., but more importantly, a transitional piece between the hard, angry, political sound of Lifes Rich Pageant and Document and the more pastoral, personal sounds to come on Out of Time and Automatic for the People. Transitional pieces don't tend to make good records, and Green is no real exception.
I used to say that I liked half of the album, until people started asking me which songs I disliked. I can't really name any (save "Hairshirt"), so I've instead started saying I like the songs half as much as I like the typical R.E.M. song. While "Orange Crush," "The Wrong Child" and especially "Get Up" deliver what you're looking for in spades, "You Are Everything," "Pop Song 89" and "World Leader Pretend" feel like they're missing something.
There was really nothing the band could do about it, though; Green was a mediocre record that needed to be made so that the world could get Out of Time and Automatic for the People. It was my least favorite R.E.M. record, up until they released Reveal this summer. But that's another review...
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on June 8, 2001
This is how I like to remember R.E.M. I believe that they reached their top form during the 80's and early 90's. The reason I believe that this album is so great is because its not perfect. Unlike recent R.E.M. albums "Reveal", "Up", "Hi-Fi", this one is filled with imperfections. Michael Stipe's vocals crack all over the place, conveying the pure emotion he sings with. Mike Mill's bass isn't anything impressive and Bill Berry's drum parts are incredibly simple. When all this is put together though just right, the 4 boys from Athens have the ability to create something beautiful, and the album "Green" is that something. You can listen to this album straight through without skipping a song. "Get Up", "Pop Song 89", "Orange Crush", "Stand", "World Leader Pretend", "I Remember California", the list goes on. If you are looking to get into R.E.M., this is a great album to start with. "Dreams they complicate my life"
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on May 16, 2001
After the success of Document, R.E.M. moved from college radio giants to mainstream stars. They made the move from the independent IRS label to corporate rock giant Warner Brothers. Green is their debut release for Warner Brothers. While many diehard fans felt the band sold out, R.E.M. proved that you could work in the mainstream and still maintain your integrity. Green does have a more commercial sound than their previous efforts, most notably in the big hit "Stand". With the chance to reach a larger audience, the lyrics take on a more a socially active approach. The album's title is about trying to become environmentally friendly and many of the song's deal with the government's and big business' pollution of the environment and its people. "Orange Crush" is about the damage Agent Orange caused soldiers in Vietnam and "You Are The Everything" voices concerns about the ecology. "Get Up" is a call for activism. "Pop Song 89" is a sarcastic take on their new found chart success. "World Leader Pretend" is a great song and it also marked the first song the band ever printed lyrics to. It is the only song from the album to have the lyrics included, but it such as masterful song, that aspect only enhances the power of the words. Green was a big move forward for R.E.M. as they left behind their roots and started to grow towards bigger and greater commercial and critical successes.
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on April 4, 2001
GREEN is REM's most difficult album for me, varying between captivating and tedious, pointed and pointless.
REM's first major-label release (as pointed out by every other review here), GREEN is loud, glamorous, and brash, a total departure from the indie production of their earlier release DOCUMENT. In fact, DOCUMENT seems incredibly modest in comparison.
However, REM's songwriting remains almost as strong as on DOCUMENT, though a tad overambitious. "You are the Everything" is a poignant recollection of childhood. "The Wrong Child" is a laudably original song about being handicapped. "Orange Crush" is a slightly-nonsensical critique of the Vietnam War. "I Remember California" bridges the gap between indie and major-label well.
However, there are a few misses. "World Leader Pretend" comes across as cold and unmoving. (In fact, I believe that it was conceived as a happy song, but Stipe regrettably saddened it.) "Stand" is so sappy and sugary that it pains me to know that many people identify this as a exemplar REM track because of its radio play.
GREEN is akward and obviously catches the band in a transitory period. 3 stars is, I believe, it's deserved rating.
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on March 28, 2001
Released on election day,1988,"Green was REMs first album put out in the glare of the mainstream spot-light,and the preassure shows.Not the preassure to live up to the commercial expectations set by the massive(and unexpected) success of the single "The One I Love" from the previous year,but the preassure to not "sell out",and become the "ordinary" rock band it's loyal fans had always feared and loathed.Never a band to let outside opinions dictate the coarse of it's music,nevertheless here they tend to keep thier considerable pop chops in check,in favor of an "edgy" politicaly-influenced sound.It just doesn't suit them.Which is not to say that stompers like "Turn You Inside-Out" and "Orange Crush" don't have a certain forward rush;indeed these songs hint at a ferocious bar-band peeping from behind the sensetive-boho curtain.But the likes of "The Wrong Child",You Are The Everything""Hairshirt",and "I Remember California" are utterly interminable,droning on forever and going nowhere.REM never let itself become bombastic or overwrought at even it's hardest-rocking moments,but on these tracks,tender sentiments and heart-felt greivences are inexplicably delivered with a sledge-hammer.Thankfully,"Green" also includes one of the band's greatest singles"Stand",a deliriously catchy sing-along that could redeem any record,as well as a beautifully bouncy untitled eleventh track that closes the album on a simple,pleasing note.Looking back,one could easily divide the coarse of REMs career into three distinct phases:the first was the "Murmur" through "Fables of the Reconstruction" period,where the band presented short,sharp shocks of expertly crafted folk-pop decked out in a dapper bohemian-new-wave sweater-vest,the second began with "Life's Rich Pageant,and ends(thankfully)here with this album,with the band veturing into political arena-stomping and heavy-handed "message" ballads.Of coarse,the third phase(continuing to this day) is the one started with "Out Of Time",released three years after this one,that more than makes up for the awkward miss-steps of the late-eighties.
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