This review is from: Automatic for the People (Audio CD)A bold, acoustic album which such spectacular sound quality that it sounds like it was taped last year! This album features R.E.M. at their most intimate, professional and accurate. I would not say that it is a better album than "Out of Time", but it is more masterful craft-wise. All in all, this is R.E.M. at their best, and it is the 'must have' album of their career. Dark, witty, humorous and deep, alternative rock with a country feel doesn't get any better than this.
"Drive" - The opening song of regret, striking right from the get-go. Acoustic and yet adding an electric edge. Sound-wise perhaps the most addictive song on the album. Stipe's amusing wordplay is apparent right from the start: "Smack, crack, bushwhacked. Tie another one to the racks, baby..."
"Try Not to Breathe" - Very country, and oozing with well mastered melody. Perhaps not one of the more striking songs, but never the less it holds its own.
"The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" - An artsy spin on "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" song, which is both cute and astonishing, featuring one of Stipe's very best vocal performances and some of his most trippy lyrics.
"Everybody Hurts" - Everyone has heard this song a 1,000 times. It is a beautiful classic to be sure.
"New Orleans Instrumental No. 1" - A filler, and I never listen to it. But it does fit in with the style and mood of the album.
"Sweetness Follows" - Very moody and sentimental song about drifting apart which grabs me every time I hear it. Very bassy and bound to ignite darker feelings.
"Monty Got A Raw Deal" - This one refers to the actor Montgomery Clift, accused of Communism by McCarthy. One of the stranger songs on the album, both for its sound and lyrics. You just have to listen to it.
"Ignoreland" - The song which stands out from the rest as it doesn't seem entirely finished somehow. Perhaps rushed, or something. But a highly energetic spew on 80's politics.
"Star Me Kitten" - There was a version of this song released on the "X-Files" TV series soundtrack which is far its superior, voiced instead by writer and vocal performer William S. Burroughs. However, this take is nicely done in its own subtle way. The lyrics linger somewhere between cute and dirty.
"Man on the Moon" - One of their best-loved songs, and one which Peter Buck has boasted as being the 'quintessential R.E.M. song'. About controversial comedian Andy Kaufman, and used in the 1999 film by the same name.
"Nightswimming" - One of those songs that you'll either love or hate. Shamelessly cute and addictive, and easy to get lost in. A song lost in a beautiful moment with innocent piano and Stipe at perhaps his most giving.
"Find the River" - The last song and perhaps my personal favorite. It's about letting go and embracing the spiritual journey, into the beyond. A simple country-flavored ballad which delivers, to the patient listener, treats as great as other moments in this classic album.